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Apr. 7, 2020 – Vanderbilt University prepares to assist VUMC; Housing to send students updates

Posted by on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 in Community Messages.

Dear Undergraduate Students,

I sincerely hope this message finds you healthy and well as you continue your studies remotely. I wanted to share some updates on activity in the residence halls, spaces we know are your homes at Vanderbilt University.

First, in consultation with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the university has decided to use its campus residence halls to provide essential close-proximity housing for medical staff as they work around the clock to fight the global pandemic. Providing this housing option to medical staff on the front lines will allow them to continue their work while protecting their families by limiting their exposure. VUMC is one of the largest academic medical centers serving not only Tennessee but also the mid-South region, and we feel a deep responsibility to serve the community in these uncertain times by being the very best partner we can to our heroic healthcare providers.

Second, this decision has some implications. The most obvious one is that we need to make those spaces ready as soon as possible.

If you are among the students still residing on campus, you have already been notified that we are in the process of relocation. The purpose of this move is to enhance your safety and security as well as our ability to support you. Remaining students will each be assigned to living spaces with a bathroom and kitchen, a living room, and at least one bedroom. Housekeeping has increased its sanitizing efforts in residential common areas; security posts continue to be staffed; and Campus Dining has established a food distribution site for campus residents.

If you are not living on campus, you will be asked to make an important choice regarding your belongings still on campus: Vanderbilt can pack, insure, and store your items on campus at no expense to you, or UPS can pack and ship your items at your own expense.  When it is time for your residence hall to be packed, the Office of Housing and Residential Experience (OHARE) will contact you to provide more details and tell you how to indicate your choice. As a reminder, you can also apply to the university’s Hardship Fund for possible assistance with shipping.

Third, unfortunately you cannot come back to campus now to do this yourself. Due to Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s Safer at Home order, which is currently in effect, students and/or their family members cannot return to campus at this time to retrieve personal belongings. If and when all travel restrictions and Safer at Home orders are lifted, and we can ensure that it is safe to do so, OHARE will communicate details and provide instructions about when and how to retrieve belongings from campus storage.

In closing, I’d like to share an observation. Inside and outside of the classroom, some of my favorite conversations with students are about complex issues, issues raising questions and revealing needs that make us realize multiple things can be true and important at the same time. It is true that this is a difficult time for many of us personally and within our own families and relationships. It is also true that Vanderbilt needs to respond to this call to act by supporting our partners at VUMC as they care for residents from across the region. I send you my gratitude for thinking of others in our community and for supporting them as they carry out their mission.  You came to Vanderbilt to expand your sense of your own mission and role in the world. Now, as we have this same opportunity as a university, it is important we step up and act. This unprecedented time in history gives us the opportunity to support a larger mission of service to the community and society at large.

As a reminder, for the most updated information, visit the university’s COVID-19 website. Please submit any questions using our COVID-Questions form.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Beasley
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Residential Faculty

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