A Message from President Thomas J. LeBlanc: Checking in

April 13, 2020

Dear Students,

At this point in the spring semester, we would normally have no shortage of opportunities to come together: a research showcase, a student org celebration, performances, and athletic events. I am disappointed that we cannot gather on Kogan Plaza or at the Vern. However, for now, we know it is for the best, and a necessary step to protect the safety of our community.

You have read a lot from me and from other university leaders these past few weeks about safety, and how it drives every decision we make. In times of crisis, safety must always be our foremost consideration.

But today, amid the stay-at-home orders and social distancing recommendations, I want to also emphasize the importance of your well-being, and our commitment to providing you with the support and resources you need for your health and wellness.

For many of us, the sudden changes and continued uncertainty created by COVID-19 have increased anxiety or added stress, all on top of what we typically experience this time of year.

Please know that you are not alone. Counseling and Psychological Services within the Colonial Health Center continues to provide 24/7 consultation and support to the GW student community by phone at 202-994-5300, so you always have a direct line to someone who can help you. While there are some constraints on distance counseling, clinicians are able to continue regular check-ins and provide students with recommendations for at-home providers to get the individual help and follow-up you may need. Additionally, we have prioritized hiring a new counseling director, and Dr. Jessica Parrillo will join GW in June and be another resource for our students.

We are also making available as many virtual resources as possible, addressing various dimensions of well-being; providing self-help guides, including a COVID-19 toolkit; and hosting virtual events. Our Student Affairs teams are working hard to communicate with you more about these and other resources in the coming days.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, we are here for you. If you do not know where to start, contact [email protected] or 202-994-6555. If you know of someone who needs help but may not be comfortable asking for it, look out for them by filling out a CARE form.

Finally, please do not forget about the power of simply being present for and checking in on one another. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I have seen so many selfless examples recently of students helping other students and demonstrating the strength of our caring GW community. While some days will inevitably be harder than others, we can get through this by sticking together. I remain so proud of how all of you have faced these challenges head on, and chin up.


Thomas J. LeBlanc