With glimpses of normalcy returning to campus and a beam of hope on the horizon, there’s a sense of deep gratitude among College of Charleston faculty and staff – not just for the end of the pandemic, but for one another: the people who came to campus over the past year to keep the College up and running, showing continuous Cougar courage.
That’s why the College community is recognizing those dedicated, committed employees with the “Continuous Cougar Courage” initiative, giving faculty and staff the opportunity to show their appreciation for their colleagues through messages of gratitude both virtually on the Continuous Cougar Courage Yammer community and physically on ribbons tied to the fence in the Barnet Courtyard.
It all started with an event last month at Barnet Courtyard, where employees wrote messages to departments and individuals alike on ribbons and then tied them to the fence – starting a visual gratitude wall for all passersby to see.
“This initiative is an excellent way to show our shared gratitude to our amazing faculty and staff in such a visual manner,” says President Andrew T. Hsu. “It is so reminiscent of the famous ‘love locks’ on Paris’ Pont des Arts Bridge and other bridges on the Seine River. And our ribbons, too, are symbols of love, appreciation and connection.”
And that mutual appreciation for one another is certainly something that has kept the entire College community connected over the past year – whether working on campus or off.
“This has been an incredible year and every single corner of campus has been required to bring their best to the table, innovate, adapt, pivot, re-approach and try again,” Bridget McLernon Sykes, director of Student Health Services, wrote on the Yammer page. “It has been inspiring to see how hard everyone has worked and persevered to get us through. Thanks to everyone who has put their head down and just gotten the work done. This Cougar Nation is something to be proud of. Thank you!!!”
Of course, Sykes and Student Health Services themselves were at the forefront of keeping the campus community safe and healthy throughout the pandemic – providing a sense of comforting guidance that didn’t go unnoticed.
“A great big THANKS to Student Health Services for your continued commitment to providing care and services for our students!” wrote Brenda Anderson, executive assistant in the Division of University Communications, on Yammer. “You are HEROES and we are forever grateful for your dedication and selfless work!”
Indeed, as John Morris, vice president of Facilities Management, said on Yammer: “HEROES WORK HERE!” And they can be found on every corner of campus: from the Office of Student Life and the Department of Residence Life to Campus Services and Dining Services to the Division of Information Technology to the academic schools to Mail Services to the Department of Public Safety.
“I thanked our Public Safety office for working to keep our campus safe for those who remained on campus as well as those in our city and campus community,” says Erin O’Dea Halford, employer relations manager in the Career Center. “I also thanked our grounds team for keeping our campus beautiful and maintained so that we all had a lovely home to return to as soon as it was safe to do so.”
And it’s not just teams, departments and offices that the campus community appreciates. Quite a few people have given shoutouts to individuals, as well. Nearly 50 individuals have been named in Yammer posts and many of the ribbons at Barnet Courtyard recognize specific people, too.
“Two of the people I thanked were Crystal Mead and Julia Hammer (both in Institutional Advancement),” says Debye Alderman, assistant treasurer for the College of Charleston Foundation and executive director of finance and administration in the Division of Institutional Advancement (IA). “During the year of working remotely, they both came in once a week to make sure all the cash/checks/gifts were recorded in a timely manner. They were rockstars in their commitment to keep IA going!”
Check out the below images of the Continuous Cougar Courage ribbons on the George Street – Barnet Courtyard fence – and be sure to visit the gratitude wall in person. The ribbons will be there through May 24, 2021.
To add a ribbon to the fence, contact your SAC representative. Ribbons and special waterproof pens are also available in the Office of Mail Services, 89 St. Philip St. You may also post a message of gratitude at any time on the Yammer Continuous Cougar Courage community page.