with gratitude

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Loyolan has started a video series in which students and faculty share what they are grateful for. However, photogenic is not on the list of words I use to describe myself (there’s a reason I chose a major that places me behind the camera, not in front of it), so I decided to write an article to express my gratitude instead.

I have never had a doubt that LMU professors are amongst the most dedicated, kind, caring individuals that I have met in my life. However, it has taken a global crisis to reveal just to what extent LMU faculty and staff care for their students.

After LMU announced its decision to move classes to online instruction for the rest of the semester, each of my professors for my eight classes sent me an email. Their emails started not by reminding us of upcoming exam, but by providing students with a number of resources to get emotional and economic support, as well as offering themselves as a resource for students. When classes were postponed for a week, many of my professors set up zoom office hours just to talk to students and help them cope with the situation.

This message was echoed throughout the school, across disciplines and ranging from the president of the university to the Lair worker who served me lunch after I had finished packing up my room.

From the three colleges that I am a part of—the School of Film and Television, the Seaver College of Science, and the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts—I can personally vouch for everything that the faculty is doing to help accommodate for student needs.

Before online classes were announced, the film school staff worked endlessly to sanitize equipment twice a day so that it would be safe for students to use. After the digital shift was made, they switched their efforts to ensuring free licensing to various filmmaking softwares that students could use from home.

For BCLA and Seaver (as well as SFTV), faculty’s dedication to students is evident in the number of emails, Brightspace posts and slacks sent out to help students feel at home — because who are we kidding, LMU is our home.

From the two colleges which I am not in, their deans told me how their faculty and staff are working hard to get through this difficult time.

Dean Dayle Smith of the College of Business Administration told me that "The CBA is working around the clock to accommodate the needs of all our students - no matter where they are in the world ... I have been so inspired by the collaboration and commitment of our faculty, staff and students, and I am confident that all of us will get through this time stronger, more resilient and with new and valuable skills as business leaders."

Dean Bryant Alexander from the College of Communications and Fine Arts expressed a similar perspective, stating that “While I have always been impressed with the faculty and staff in CFA, in this time of crisis and shift I am even more in awe of their responsiveness. They have been exemplary in activating a range of online methods and modalities for instruction, while continually exploring inventive ways to keep students fully engaged in the criticality of their intellect, art and craft.”

The first part of Dr. Alexander’s quote stuck with me. During this time of crisis, we are all able to see what has always been there: that LMU faculty are willing to give their all to students who (if like me) are probably not always appreciative enough.

I remember when I first decided to write this article, I wasn’t sure if it would fit under the opinion section. All my opinions for as long as I have worked at the Loyolan have been about what was wrong in the world, not about what was right. With that in mind, I find another reason to be grateful for LMU professors, and for all those who show love and support to others in times of crisis. They are a living reminder that the world has good, immeasurable good — and that goodness is what matters most.

This is the opinion of Veronica Backer-Peral, a sophomore film and television production, history and computer science triple major from Pasadena, CA. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email astory@theloyolan.com.

Veronica is a sophomore triple major in film production, history, and computer science. She loves long talks about politics, amateur flying trapeze, and getting 8 hours of sleep (almost) every night.

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