Dear Vanderbilt community,
As hard as it is to believe, we are already one-third of the way through our fall semester schedule. Those on campus have been wearing face masks, physically distancing, limiting gathering sizes, checking for symptoms, getting tested, and quarantining and isolating when needed. We asked you to Anchor Down and Step Up. You have done so.
None of this has been easy—whether in person or remote. But you have proven that Vanderbilt students can handle tough challenges. As a result of your commitment, our extensive and rigorous on-campus plans, and the enormous effort by our faculty and staff, we have thus far managed the spread of COVID-19 and avoided the shutdowns and reversals in plans that other universities have experienced. And, as our most recent COVID-19 data shows, our positivity rate remains low, even though Vanderbilt is now conducting more tests than ever.
To be absolutely clear: None of this would have happened without you and the choices you have made. And yet, without your sustained effort, our situation could change in an instant. Your continued vigilance is of paramount importance. We are achieving these results because you are choosing to do the right thing.
We have been awed during this brief time by the collaborative spirit and the innovation of Vanderbilt students. You have made protecting our community a matter of personal and collective pride. And you are indeed making the very most of this semester unlike any other, as you’ll see captured in some of the photos below. You are showing the world what Vanderbilt students are made of.
What comes through most clearly as we look at these images is a manifestation of our university’s values and ideals. We are learning, living and working alongside one another—both in person and virtually—in a vibrant academic community, despite all the challenges during this extraordinary semester. Those of us who are remote have been connected and engaged. Those of us who are on campus are committed, purposeful, and dedicated to supporting one another. Campus may look different this year, but there is undeniable and palpable energy and excitement for our future.
As we continue the semester, we urge you to keep up the great work, continue protecting the health and safety of our One Vanderbilt community as much as possible, and continue learning from all the invaluable people and resources Vanderbilt has to offer. Now is the time to stay focused, remain vigilant, and take care of one another as only Commodores can.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to step up and start building your legacy today. You have anchored down and done exactly that. We all can be proud of what has been accomplished so far.
Thank you for an excellent start. Together, we can get this done.
Susan R. Wente
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs