Often before now, I have written and spoken about the need to view uncertainty as an opportunity for learning, reflection and positive change. When it comes to the effects of a global pandemic, “uncertainty” is an understatement.
Who would have imagined how quickly and completely our world has changed this year – and continues to change under this unprecedented situation?
COVID-19 has brought untold suffering and tragedy to many people, in many ways, around the world. For myself and for all members of the University of Guelph, this has been a time to reflect on the lives of others most affected by this pandemic, here in Canada and in all the many countries that are home to our growing alumni family.
For me, there are two potential lessons – and, dare I say, some reassurance — that have been underlined by this pandemic and our collective response to it.
First, an ever-changing world is one that invites discovery. Answering questions, and finding new questions to answer, underpins university research, learning and innovation that improve lives.
there are two potential lessons – and, dare I say, some reassurance — that have been underlined by this pandemic and our collective response to it
This novel coronavirus has spurred U of G into new avenues of inquiry and discovery.
Our researchers have adapted their expertise to develop coronavirus tests, to study and predict disease progression, to devise virus-killing surfaces and to ensure supplies of personal protective equipment for front-line workers. Instructors and students have adopted new modes of teaching and learning so we can continue to fulfill our vital educational mandate. (Even the University president has attempted to master DIY video-making technology in recent months.)
Second, and perhaps more important, this uncertain world has shown us again why hope matters. Hope has shown up in the many extraordinary ways that our community has pulled together in the face of this crisis. From students working on the front lines to campus members making needed facemasks and donating to food banks, the entire University community has come together in amazing ways to face COVID-19 and to continue delivering on our mission to Improve Life.
Faced with uncertainty, we have demonstrated time and again this year why U of G matters to the world – and how discovery and hope will get us all to the other side of the COVID-19 curve.