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March Update from Tisch College

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Read the March issue of our monthly bulletin: a note from Dean Alan Solomont about Tisch College's work during this unprecedented crisis.

Dear Tisch College Family,

We bring you today’s special issue of the Tisch College bulletin from a vastly different perspective than we did one month ago. At this time of great stress, we are thinking of you, and of your families and communities. To our students: we miss you. We miss your voices, your ideas, and your energy. We know you are continuing your learning online, including in the Civic Studies major, and we are looking for ways to enhance our connections to you. We hope you will stay in touch with us via email, social media and video.

I thought I would take this opportunity to provide you with a few updates from Tisch College:

  • You may have seen this op-ed in the Boston Globe, written by President Tony Monaco, challenging colleges and universities to use their facilities to backstop a health care system that may soon be overwhelmed. As part of this effort, we at Tisch College are deploying our online volunteer management system, Tufts Civic Impact, to coordinate ways for students, faculty and staff to volunteer to assist in this effort via local and virtual Community Response Groups. In most cases, this will mean long-distance volunteer opportunities, such as coordinating deliveries of donated supplies, filling in on shifts for food hotlines, and providing phone calls to senior citizens who have been isolated by this crisis. You can read more about this here. For now, this platform is only available to Tufts students, staff and faculty, but we are exploring ways to open it up to our alumni. We have also created a page listing special requests and opportunities for researchers and others with technical supplies and expertise. I am very proud of our University for taking a leadership role in this crisis.
  • We are exploring ways to make some of our programs available remotely this semester. To that end, we plan to announce a virtual Civic Life Lunch soon. We hope you will all join us for that. If you missed our last Distinguished Speaker Series event, featuring author and criminal justice reform advocate Cyntoia Brown-Long, it is now available here via C-SPAN. A special art exhibition curated by our Tisch Scholars, which was on display at Barnum Hall, can now be enjoyed on Facebook and Instagram. And JumboVote, our student-led voter engagement initiative, continues its important work through online office hours, resource sharing, and more.
  • On the research front, we continue to push forward as we think about what the pandemic will mean for youth political participation in the coming months. CIRCLE recently launched an in-depth data analysis tool that you can explore and share. CIRCLE and IDHE continue to support universities, youth-serving organizations, and other stakeholders as they seek out best practices to keep young people informed and engaged.
  • Regarding our summer programs, while we are proceeding with planning and developing contingencies, we know there are more questions than answers right now. We will be in touch with you soon regarding guidance and opportunities. In addition, we are currently accepting applications for this fall’s First-Year Global Programs.

There is much uncertainty around this crisis, including when it will end and how long-lasting its impacts will be. Despite the many unknowns, one thing is clear to me: the work we do at Tisch College could not be more important. Now more than ever is a time to put our civic skills and values to work for our shared communities. Now is the time to take stock of how our public systems—global, federal and local—need to be transformed to support those who are struggling. And now is the time to rethink the idea of community in a virtual environment. These are big challenges without clear solutions. Our work depends on your partnership and your support.

We are grateful for all you do in the world. We will get through this together.

Alan Solomont
Dean of Tisch College