Voices of Simmons

Selfless Acts from the Simmons Community

A Message from President Helen Drinan

I hope you have had a good start to your week and are getting used to working in an entirely different modality. I understand that this continues to be a challenging time with so much health and economic uncertainty around the country. We are learning all the time and continuing to make sacrifices. I want to especially thank our graduating seniors who are collaborating with us as we work hard to create a memorable and meaningful virtual celebration of the Class of 2020. While none of us are in the situation we expected just a few weeks ago, I believe we will capitalize on this unforeseen event to showcase the best of our community. That will be up to all of us, so it is important that we reflect on our experience as we go.
In that vein, you will perhaps remember that last week I talked about selfless acts that contribute to the well-being of all, and I asked members of our community to share any such acts.
Lovely things came forward:

  • An MSW student in Massachusetts related that her family has been feeding several older adults in their neighborhood. While they are following the health precautions, they include a wave through the window or door so their actions are far more than just a delivery. Knowing others are checking on you is such a reassurance when you live alone.
  • The spouse of a staff member in the Provost's Office did his residency at BIDMC so as a couple they have many friends in the Longwood Medical Area. They have been very engaged in helping to solve the shortages of masks and protective equipment for healthcare providers, and have made a special effort to provide prepackaged snacks to at least five separate medical facilities. For anyone interested in joining that effort, visit their Amazon wishlist page.
  • An online student living in the hotspot of New York with everything shut down shared that during one of the seemingly endless days of isolation, she received a knock at her door, and opened it to a neighbor with whom she had never spoken before. Known to be a big fan of doing puzzles, but of also never redoing a puzzle a second time, the neighbor was going door to door and sharing her previously completed puzzles with all the people in her neighborhood. What a kind and generous gesture!
  • Another report of neighborliness: hosting a free potluck for anyone needing a meal after losing a job and having no income. Moved by the awareness of how having no money means there cannot be an expectation of contributing to the potluck, the organizer ensured that no one felt the pressure of being asked what they brought or even that they had.
  • One of our faculty members not only serves his Simmons students but is also a regular volunteer EMT and firefighter, and in these days that puts him on the front lines of the pandemic. Calls to patients with symptoms, managing town emergencies, and preparing 40+ volunteers to provide essential services such as grocery and pharmacy delivery in the event of a shelter-in-place order have become his new priorities. Totally in order and ready to go!
  • And an undergraduate student who worked on her studies at Simmons during her spring break was touched by a special interaction with a member of the cleaning staff in the Management and Academic Building. He asked if she had a mask and gloves to wear as she left to get on a train, and when she indicated that she did not, he gave her some of his and encouraged her to be careful and stay safe. She knew this was a small act of kindness that made her feel good and she wanted others to experience that goodness as well.

Does such kindness and generosity of spirit become our new normal? Let's think about how that might be so. Thank you for your continued strength, creativity and resiliency.

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