From Kevin’s Desk: Notice the Helpers (3/20/2020)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

A lot has happened since my last message – the pace of change has been extreme, as the university, the nation, and the world continue to implement measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us in B&F are now working remotely, others have been redeployed to support mission critical areas of the university, and still others are here on campus ensuring that our community has the resources it needs. I have been amazed, though not surprised, at how quickly our teams have adapted and adjusted their work to support a continuously changing situation. Each of you are doing your part to help…Thank you!

Mr. Rogers once said that during times of crisis, we should “look for the helpers” – no matter how bad the situation, “You will always find people who are helping.” And that’s exactly what I see when I look at the efforts happening across B&F to care for our community. From the work our F&O teams are doing to help Michigan Medicine ramp up for potential COVID-19 patients, to Property Disposition’s quick efforts to comb through and prepare their inventory of used computers and office equipment for staff to use at home, to the collaboration between UHR and the SSC to rapidly convert our new employee orientation to an online format – it is so wonderful to see! You can read more about these and other efforts on our website

In addition to taking care of our community, I hope you are also taking care of yourselves, both physically and emotionally, and your loved ones during these stressful times. Even the toughest among us need reassurance and a kind word every now and then. Our colleagues in UHR put together a comprehensive COVID-19 webpage to answer your questions and provide easy access to important information. I also encourage you to join the Working at U-M Workplace page, which has a lot of wonderful resources to support your overall wellbeing. And please do be diligent in following the guidelines for protecting your health: wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently used surfaces, practice social distancing, etc. You can learn more on the CDC website.

While no one has a playbook for how to manage a situation of this kind, I do believe our work over the past few years to create a more positive and inclusive organization is serving us now, more than ever. If nothing else, a global health crisis like this serves as an incredible reminder that we are all interconnected: no matter our backgrounds, who we are or what we do, we all ultimately support and depend on each other. Be caring to others, show kindness every day and express gratitude for being surrounded by others who are there to help. Our B&F family makes me incredibly proud; I cannot tell you how grateful I am to each of you for your steadfast commitment to the university and to each other.

In these times of great uncertainty, the only thing I am confident of is that we will all make it through this just fine if we work together and look after each other. You are the “Helpers” Mr. Rogers knew would rise to the occasion.  Thank you for being you.

With much appreciation and gratitude,