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Building Resilience through Community

BY SBECKE11 – APRIL 14, 2020

When the global pandemic hit and the ASU community moved to remote modalities, the notion of community became more important than ever. In the absence of opportunities for community members from across ASU to connect face to face, we created new digital touchpoints. On March 16th, the first day of ASU’s move to remote teaching, learning and working, I created two new ASU-wide Slack channels: #silver-linings-playbook and #remote-working-live-parenting.





Silver Linings Playbook

This new channel was launched for faculty, staff and students to share their own “silver linings” in the face of the pandemic. For example, faculty members who were not used to delivering learning online began sharing how the new modalities were bolstering student interactions. With permission from participants, our lead UTO writer (shout out to Tristan Ettleman!) and his team of communications ambassadors captured these stories as they were shared by community members to disseminate new best practices more broadly. Hence, the UTO Newsroom “Remote Resilience” series was born. Nearly every day new stories are added showcasing the creativity and silver linings brought about by resilient Sun Devils.

Remote Working Live Parenting



As schools across Arizona and the country also transitioned online, it meant that ASU faculty, staff and students with school-aged children were thrust in the position of working in the midst of caring for and homeschooling their loved ones. The stress this can place on parents is not to be underestimated. When I created this channel it was with the goal of alleviating feelings of being overwhelmed by sending a clear message that no one is alone in this. Over the past ~month, hundreds of Sun Devils have been sharing photos, kid-friendly educational and recreational activities and even stories of mischievous kid “Zoom crashers.” I have personal experience with this; that lipstick-covered cutie is my daughter during one of Mom’s Zooms.

Sun Devil Perspectives

“It has helped me to realize I'm not alone and that in some cases my situation isn't as stressful as I thought," shares Michelle Stermole, Director of Communications for ASU Enterprise Partners. "I was just coming back from maternity leave in the midst of this so it is helpful to see tips from other parents. I appreciate hearing their triumphs and challenges. [Also], This group has also helped me get to know people I may never have crossed paths with otherwise.

“This is an amazing community that provides support, ideas and a sense that we are not alone in learning to adapt to this new work modality," says Eric Dover, Executive Director, Experience Center and Learning Space Services at the University Technology Office. "Many times it feels like we may be alone but this community has become a vital outlet and connection point for us parents.”

“This channel has really helped me to see the lighter side of such a stressful situation," notes Valerie Cox, Enrollment Coach at EdPlus. "They have great ideas and try to keep us all positive by sharing stories and ideas.”

Indeed, over the past few weeks, I’ve found the spirit of ASU embodied in these communities. I’ve observed Sun Devils laugh with each other, console each other and dole out practical and new-fangled advice for sticky situations. We may be physically apart during this challenging time, but we are emotionally connected.


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