Good morning, Monks.
I’m a bit behind this morning, due to my steadfast debris-gathering of random sticks and branches down in the yard, due, in part, to Hurricane Isaias moving through Maine last night. I hope you all stayed safe, maintained power, water, the essentials.
This week marks the unofficial first week that I’ve been going back to the office on campus on a regular basis since March. I’ve gone in to collect mail, see some real humans, and check things out. On Monday, I went in mostly to escape the heat.
There was the normal stuff, to be sure. Paving walkways, replacing windows in residence halls, doing *something* on the roof of Mercy Hall above the College’s science labs. I’m sure it’s important. But, here are a couple of the new things I noticed on a brief walk around campus:
- There were some great new enhancements to our Pollinator Garden this summer. Did you know we were the first college in Maine to be certified as a “Bee Friendly” campus? It’s true, opening in April 2019 during the College’s Sustainability Festival. Drs. Patty Waters and Greg Teegarden, Kimberly Post, and our students and Facilities department, along with support from Maine Campus Compact, made it happen. We put up a great new fence showcasing the garden this summer. I know I’m getting older when I marvel at a mere fence, constructed, I’m told, by staff (looking at you, Tim) in our amazing Facilities Management department, but it looks sharp.
- Boy, the main dining area in Pearson’s looks different. It’s clear that while I’ve been futzing with my computer mic and frustrated about my well-meaning neighbor’s morning chainsaw routine, the Food Services crew have been busy creating safe spaces for our students and patrons – they’ve also added a ton of outdoor seating, picnic tables, new umbrellas, and a massive outdoor tent that is designed to stay up for the fall for dining en plein air (look it up, smarties). Another first, on Monday, I saw a literal photoshoot of food items for our soon-to-be-unleashed online ordering portal and redesigned menu at Baggot Street. That’s a whole thing – more to come in the month about food.
- Lastly, I strolled over to one of our residence halls with a couple of colleagues to check-out the progress of the new Health Center. So cool. I’d never wish sickness on anyone, BUT, if any student was to feel less-than-superb, it’s going to be a great place to seek care. We’ll still have the same great staff team, but with 4 new exam rooms, a dedicated lab to run tests in-house, conference room to review tests and treatment options with students, a medical triage room, and professional staff offices. Oh, and a waiting room and check-in counter, naturally. Again, I promise to write more about this in the coming weeks.
- Another marvel is the amount of work that has continued in terms of hiring new staff at the College – pandemic be darned. The “new faces” part of this post will just have to wait (I’m already way over my self-imposed word count). All I’ll say is that we’ve hired some great SJC alums to come back and work for the mothership, and we’ve added other new staff, too, across campus. I’ll make sure to introduce them.
For now, things are heating up…..figuratively and literally. Stay cool the rest of this week and weekend, and if you’re around, swing by and take a campus stroll, as I did. Campus is looking great.
Matt Goodwin is the Dean of Students at Saint Joseph’s College.
Along with a team of top-of-their-class Campus Life professionals in the areas of Student Engagement & Residential Living, Counseling Center, Health & Wellness Center, Campus Safety, and the Mercy Center, Campus Life supports students’ holistic personal development, learning, and empowerment in service to a global community.