The COVID-19 pandemic posed an existential threat to the WPI community. The story of the processes and the people behind university’s response to the greatest public health threat the nation has seen in over a century is told in the special Summer 2021 issue of the WPI Journal.
How was it done? First, it was a matter of thoughtful preparation and sound planning. For having built an emergency response infrastructure well before the virus arrived, the university was prepared to mount a comprehensive, coordinated, and data-driven response—one that involved the entire campus.
Second, it was accomplished with foresight, perseverance, and care for others. For it was only by staying ahead of the curve, acting with intelligence and compassion, and always putting the health and safety of the community (our North Star) first, that WPI was able to weather the storm and emerge a smarter and better institution.
In the 13 parts that make up the issue’s cover story, “The Never-Ending Crisis,” you will learn how WPI’s Coronavirus Emergency Response Team evolved and adapted to stay ahead of the shape-shifting pandemic; about how the university prepared the campus for the return of in-person instruction and built a health infrastructure to help keep the campus community safe; and about the collaborative and cooperative effort involved in pivoting the university’s academic offerings to make them more flexible.
The cover story is bookended by two messages from President Laurie Leshin in which she expresses her gratitude for everyone—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Board of Trustees—who helped the university navigate the COVID-19 crisis, and shares her perspective on how the university will learn from the pandemic experience to build a “better normal” in the months and years ahead.
As always, the online WPI Journal will be there whenever you want to explore these and other fascinating stories about WPI alumni, faculty, students, and staff and all they do to make the university—and the world—a better place. Happy reading!