15 long years ago, I arrived in Northfield as a first-year Carleton student – overwhelmed by everything and totally unsure of myself. My four years at Carleton had ups and downs, but they did teach me what it meant to be a ‘Carl’: to be kind, caring, community-oriented, and focused on the greater good.
This term, as a staff member, it has been heartwarming to see how well you all are taking care of each other and the communities of which you’re a part – both here on campus and in Northfield as a whole.
In the stores I’ve been in on Division, I’ve heard about how respectful and reliable you’ve been with regard to mask-wearing and hygiene. Northfield residents have mentioned how grateful they are to you all for being so vigilant.
I’m on campus every day, and I’ve been deeply impressed by how rigorous you are about masks, distance, and each other’s health.
As an alum, I’m proud of you all for living up to our ideals of what it means to be a member of this community. As a staff member, I’m grateful to you all for helping to keep the college open. I’m sure you’ve all seen the stories about the schools across America that canceled their terms and sent everyone home because the students decided they didn’t need to be safe or change their normal behavior.
So far, your caution and hard work have kept Carleton from joining that unfortunate group.
Carleton doesn’t exist without you. Without students here, the college doesn’t operate. And approximately 300 faculty and 550 staff members just like me count on the continued operation of the college for our livelihoods. I, and all of us, are deeply grateful to you for everything that you’re doing to keep our community alive.
It’s obvious that this distanced, isolated term is far from ideal. I know that you all miss your old routines, gatherings, activities, sports, and dorm lives.
And, believe me, your faculty and staff miss you too.
You all are what makes Carleton a special place to work and teach. Not getting to spend time with you the way we’d like is very saddening for us. (I was really looking forward to teaching salsa this term…) But, we’re doing our best to get through this together, and you all are making it much easier and more successful than it could have been.
So, on behalf of your faculty and staff: thank you all for your hard work and your sacrifices. We see you, we appreciate it, and we join you in anxiously awaiting a return to our ordinarily extraordinary Carleton lives.
Don Smith ’09
Institutional Research & Assessment