From Kevin’s Desk: Spotlighting Essential Help (5/29/2020)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

As I mentioned in an earlier message, Mr. Rogers famously said that in times of crisis, we should look for the helpers. It provides a sense of comfort to see people helping each other, by reminding us of all the good that exists in the world. U-MSocial’s campaign to recognize our essential staff is shining a spotlight on the helpers in our community and the critical roles they play. Now, UHR has launched a similar effort to collect the stories and experiences of our “stay at home” heroes – those of you who are doing your part to keep our community safe by working remotely and following COVID-19 safety protocols. Whether you are working in a critical role on campus or at home, you are providing essential help – and I am so grateful for your dedicated service during this difficult situation. Thank you!

Speaking of helpers, I want to give a special shout out to our F&O Utilities team whose work ensures that critical utilities continue uninterrupted – steam for heat, electricity, drinking water, and compressed air flowing to our medical facilities in support of the fight against COVID-19. Utilities operating staff monitor and control these systems 24 hours per day, every day, and utilities maintenance staff work to assure reliability of these systems and respond at any time of day to address disruptions in service. Like most B&F teams, our Utilities group works largely behind the scenes and without much fanfare, but their work is absolutely vital to our campus operations. Two Utilities team members were recently featured in U-MSocial’s essential staff campaign. To learn more, you can follow the entire campaign on the University of Michigan Instagram channel or check out additional essential staff members featured on our website.

All of us have been affected by COVID-19 in some way, and for many the isolation and fear created by the pandemic is truly taking a toll. As National Mental Health Month comes to a close this weekend, it’s important to remember that there are university resources to support you all year round.  In addition to the wide range of personal counseling service from the Faculty and Staff Counseling and Consultation Office, there are online screenings, support by text and a new app to help you manage anxiety and stress. Everyone needs support sometime, and especially right now. I encourage you to check out all of the options available to you on the UHR website.

Thanks for all you do to keep our campus safe – no matter your role, your help is essential!

With much appreciation and gratitude,