Published: June 1, 2020
Chancellor DiStefano
The pandemic has impacted all of us. Remind us of the actions taken by the campus to minimize impact on the health and education of our community.

Our top priority is to protect our students, faculty, staff, their families and the broader community, which required us to quickly move to remote learning and teaching. We strongly encouraged all students who could to relocate to their permanent homes, and 96% did. We shifted to a virtual graduation and instituted remote work for most employees. We work around the clock to keep our campus safe and operational in service to our students.

You often point out that the university seal embossed on diplomas depicts a torch in the hands of youth, who will light our way. How are students and the campus community shining a light through the darkness of this pandemic?

There are many examples, here are a few: Students and other campus volunteers collected 130,000 pieces of personal protective equipment from 40 campus units to donate to healthcare workers and first responders. Students and faculty are 3D printing parts of protective face shields for healthcare workers. CU Boulder researchers are developing an affordable over-the-counter test that can tell if someone has coronavirus before they develop symptoms. Staff helped launch a program for the community to donate meals from local restaurants to be delivered to healthcare workers and first responders.

We’ve been hearing a lot about Buffs Together. What is it?

Buffs are uniting in ways relevant to every part of the campus community. Buffs Together is a campaign to bring the campus community together to assist fellow Buffs during the pandemic. It includes a campus matching gift of $1.6 million from vending machine commissions and insurance rebates donated to an emergency fund for students and one for faculty and staff. Employees are donating, and we hope alumni, friends and supporters participate. The initiative also connects Buffs to volunteer opportunities.

What will stick with you when this pandemic is written into history?

The sacrifice, perseverance, citizenship and sense of community among our students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families. Faculty worked very quickly to transition their classes to remote learning. Front-line staff have worked on campus in service to students who still call the campus home. Students completed spring studies remotely, and more than 6,000 graduated, during these very trying times. I' so proud of them.

Illustration by Melinda Josie