The Charger Blog

‘Though Our University Community Has Been Physically Separated, We Are All Still Chargers’

I was proud to help plan the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s virtual celebration of Identity Week as a way to keep the campus community connected and celebrate resilience while we cope with the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

April 23, 2020

By Josh Carbajal ’18, ’20 M.A.

virttual meeting sign off
Juan Hernandez (left), director of the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Josh Carbajal sign off at the end of a Zoom meeting.

When Juan Hernandez and Zanaiya Leon ’18, ’20 MBA asked me to help them plan the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s Identity Week events, I was ecstatic. I had not been a part of the Identity Week planning process since I was in undergraduate at the University, so I was grateful for the opportunity.

Zanaiya and I were in charge of organizing events and handling outreach, and the shift to remote learning during the planning process affected us all. We had originally planned for the theme of ID Week to be socio-economic status and food insecurity. However, in light of the current situation, we thought it would be best to focus on identity and resilience instead.

virtual Campus Climate Coalition meeting
A screenshot of a virtual Campus Climate Coalition meeting.

I think that in times of stress and uncertainty like this, it is important to focus on self-care and staying connected with your support systems. Many students are still coping with the transition to online learning, which is not an easy thing to do while, for some, coping with the unexpected trip back home.

I wanted Identity Week to be an opportunity for students to hear from our Charger community in a way that builds their capacity for resilience despite social distancing. Our events gave students space to get some of their many questions answered, and they encouraged students and staff members to share how they are coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our sense of community has been affected, and on an individual level, our own roles and sense of identity have been impacted.

Some students may now be responsible for taking care of relatives, which can significantly impact their identities as students. Other students may be in home situations that are not totally supportive of certain aspects of their identities, which can cause them to keep parts of themselves hidden from their families.

In order to best support our students whose sense of identity and resilience may be challenged due to social distancing, I wanted to remind students that they are not alone, and that they can remain resilient. Though our University community has been physically separated, we are all still Chargers, and we need to remember that we all have each other to go to in times of need.

International Services Office’s virtual panel
A screenshot of the International Services Office’s virtual panel, “COVID-19 Culture Shock: Adjusting to Life as an International Student in Unprecedented Times.”

Josh Carbajal ’18, ’20 M.A. is a candidate in the University’s graduate program in community psychology, with a concentration in program development. He is an intern in the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion as well as a graduate assistant in the University’s Center for Student Success.

Help University of New Haven Students Charge Ahead

We've launched the Charge Ahead Student Support Fund in an effort to raise financial assistance for our students for such necessities as remote learning technology, food, housing, medical expenses, and other emergency needs. Please click here to make a contribution that will assist those in our University community who need our support.