From the President

Monday Message from President Walker—February 8, 2021

The following message was sent to Students, Families, Faculty, and Staff on February 8, 2021.

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Families,

Field Work Term is coming to a close and we are so eager to welcome students back this upcoming weekend.

COVID-19 Update

There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in our community, but we are anticipating an increased threat from new strains as seen by other schools in the region. In an abundance of caution, we are strengthening our policy on Spring Term arrivals and asking every student to quarantine for the remainder of the week before traveling to Bennington. I recognize that this is an inconvenience, but the choices that each of us make over the next several weeks will be critical to our collective success this term. Students with questions about arrival procedures and state travel rules should visit our Spring 2021 Information page and the Q&A we hosted for families. Thank you, as always, for your continued adherence to the Commitment of Shared Responsibility.

Student Work Experience in a Pandemic

As the winter Field Work Term comes to a close, it is important to celebrate the many ways in which students have adapted their work to meet the challenges of this pandemic. This week, hundreds of students will successfully complete field work, paving the way for a host of remote work pathways. For the first time, over half of students will complete their field work in the summer, when two thirds of available positions and fellowships are paid. The Career Development and Field Work Term Office encourages students to consider a wide range of funded experiences, including: entrepreneurial ventures, summer internships and REUs, apprenticeships, professional certifications, and on-campus employment.

Everyone in this community will have a chance to hear presentations from about 15 recipients of fellowships in public action, food insecurity, population health, and entrepreneurship at the Field Work Term Fellowship Spotlight, next Thursday, February 18 at 12:00 pm. I hope you will tune in to support one another.

Students have engaged in a vibrant dialogue over Field Work Term about the challenges and successes of work in a pandemic. You can follow student voices on the Career Development InstagramTumblr, and Soundcloud channels.

Reminder that Campus is a Vaccine Distribution Site

As I mentioned last week, Bennington College is a Public Point of Distribution (POD) site for COVID-19 vaccinations. This won’t interfere with work or studies at the College, but you may notice additional vehicles and foot traffic in the VAPA parking lot beginning this month. We will be sure to keep you all apprised of any developments regarding vaccine availability for students, faculty, and staff. At this time, anyone who has the opportunity to be vaccinated should do so in the state in which you are eligible.

Safe Travels

And finally, I want to wish everyone who is traveling over the next week a safe and healthy return to Bennington. It’s so exciting to have nearly all of our students back on campus again. Our continued safety will, of course, require an unwavering commitment to the COVID-19 safety protocols and a sense of responsibility to one another, but it will be worth it. We can do this together and I look forward to seeing you on campus!


Laura Walker