Update from President Kurt Dykstra, April 6, 2020

Dear Beloved Trinity Students!

I find it hard to believe that we have been apart now for nearly a month.  So much has happened in that time – but every day seems to move slowly without the great rhythm of your presence here on campus.

I have heard from many of you both that you are doing okay and that you miss your home at Trinity.  Well, “home” misses you, too!  As I look out of my home “office” window upon the open field and see the Ozinga Chapel and other buildings in the distance .. I cannot help but also see empty parking lots, too.

It is not the same around here without you.  Not by a longshot!

As you have heard now many, many times:  stay safe, stay healthy, and stay faithful!  We are a Romans 12:12 kind of people!  Your diligence in your studies, your intentional ways of staying connected, your love for God and for one another all bring joy to me, even if is it joy shared at a distance.  Keep it up!

I also want to give you a few updates on some items from campus and, perhaps, answer some questions that you might have as we move through Holy Week, celebrate Easter, and journey toward the end of the semester.  (Remember that there is a lot of information, too, at trnty.edu/covid19, including all of the update emails, health information, and a regularly-updated FAQ page.)

The Academic Schedule Remains the Same.
Trinity’s schedule remains the same as “normal:”  We will not have classes starting on Maundy Thursday evening (when night classes will not happen) until Easter Monday evening (when night classes will occur).  If you have questions, the Registrar’s page on Trinity’s website has schedule and calendar information.

Summer Classes 2020 will be Entirely Online
As we all have experienced, we have to be ready to live our lives in unexpected ways.  With the continued uncertainty of when life will get back to normal, we have decided to move all of our summer courses to an on-line delivery model  (Many of them already were scheduled for that before COVID-19 descended upon us.)

Summer courses are an economical way to focus on a few courses – whether for Foundations requirements, major/minor fulfillment, or simply to learn new things.  There are summer offerings for traditional undergraduates, adult undergraduates, and graduate students.  Already, we have nearly 500 students registered for summer courses.  Join them – and invite your friends from other institutions as well.  These courses generally are open to college and university students at most any institution.  Information about summer courses, including pricing and schedules, can be found on the Registrar’s page.  Also, the Registrar’s Office soon will be emailing you with more information about summer courses and schedules.

Also, due to the overwhelmingly positive response to the new Student Success Coaches and the support that they provide, we will be offering a limited, modified version of that program during the summer sessions.  This extra bit of human contact in these “distant” and uncertain times is one way that we are here to support you!

Stay Connected!
Did you know that Chapel and Outcry are happening like usual?  (Well, okay, at the usual times at least:  Chapel on Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. and Outcry on Thursday evening at 10 p.m.)  These are wonderful ways to stay connected with one another and nourish your spirit.  Chapel is “IG Live” on Trinity’s Instagram account and Outcry is “IG Live” on the Outcry Instagram account.  There are other community gathering occurring, too (like, for example Wellness webinars at 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday sponsored by Trinity’s Counseling Center).

Also, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Leah and I now host a fifteen-minute Instagram Live “episode” as well.  We cannot promise that it is the most amazing live broadcast that you will ever see – but we often have members of the Trinity family join us for a live conversation and we try to offer scenes from around the campus.  We would love to see you and interact with you, even though we are spread around the world.

Remember, too, that we have a few students who remain in Tibstra Hall during this season.  Many are international students, far from home.  I know that they appreciate your care and concern (and communication)!

Summer Offerings for Trinity’s Chicago Semester and Semester in Spain.
Trinity’s Chicago Semester and Semester in Spain are actively working to offer remote summer options.  Plans and details will be forthcoming, so watch your email (or reach out directly to those programs with your questions).

Update on Credit Adjustments Related to Room and Board.
Various Trinity staff have been reviewing the particular situation of every student who this semester lived in Trinity housing and/or had a Trinity meal plan.  That individualized review is almost complete and credits and adjustments will be posted to your student account soon, hopefully by early next week.  Thank you for your patience; trust me, we know that this is important to you!

Opus is Happening on April 14 – Online
One of the great Trinity traditions – Opus – is still happening in a creative on-line manner on April 14.  You can find out more here on how to be an active participant.  Otherwise, be sure to head to Trinity’s website on the 14th to celebrate with your fellow students the incredible academic achievements from this past year.

Recognizing our Graduating Students
Though the official Commencement activities have been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date, we want to recognize our graduating students “virtually” in some fashion close to the original May 2 graduation day.  Our graduates have earned it, and we – the whole Trinity community – wants to recognize these amazing students for their accomplishments!  The College has assembled a campus planning committee for this purpose that is evaluating various ideas.  That planning committee wants your good ideas, too!  Feel free to send them my way (president@trnty.edu) and I will see that the planning committee receives them, too.

• • • • •

Well, that’s the update from Campus for now!  Know that we miss you terribly and pray for you daily.  Stay strong and healthy.  Remember that God is in control and loves you immeasurably.  This week – Holy Week – is the surest demonstration of how “deep [is] the Father’s love for us” (to quote the lyrics of an old song).

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.  Stay connected.  Stay faithful.  Romans 12:12.

Kurt D. Dykstra, President

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