By Shannon Sigafoos

Welcome back to Lafayette! Throughout the past several months, College leaders, faculty, and staff have continued the planning necessary to offer a safe, on-campus experience with all of the activities and offerings our students have always been accustomed to. Here, in their own words, members of the Lafayette community—from food services to advising to athletics—tell how they’re been preparing.


Kylie Bailin, Director of Outreach and Access Services, Skillman Library

Kylie Bailin, director of outreach and access services, Skillman Library

“The access services team of the libraries has been working throughout the start of the pandemic to keep our services accessible no matter what the restrictions. Now that we are looking towards a more normal fall, our planning has been a little easier.

Earlier this summer, we moved all the furniture back so we will have normal capacity seating available and reservations will no longer be required to enter Skillman or Kirby. After getting feedback from students, we will keep the reservation system for the study rooms but now also the Rothkopf quiet study room.

We’re finding innovative uses for our Plexiglas and turning some into whiteboards. If you like them, please let us know and we’ll add more. We also heard that students (and faculty & staff) loved the curbside pickup so we’re keeping that but instead of items being held outside, they’ll now be at the circulation desk—just click on ‘hold request’ on our website, and we’ll do the rest. In more good news, we are extending loan periods for browsing books from one month to a semester, and we have gotten rid of late fines on all items. But most of all we are looking forward to seeing Skillman crowded with students again!”

Brandon Morris, First-Year Dean, Advising and Co-Curricular Programs

Brandon Morris, first-year class dean, advising & co-curricular programs

“As we gear up for the fall semester, the Office of Advising is looking forward to the rich interactions that we believe will enhance our student’s education experience. Our team has learned so much over the past 16 months. We are thrilled to put into practice what we have learned, in an effort to deliver a more effective, and efficient student experience.  From the training of our student staff, to our preparation for the return to an in-person experience, we are ready for the journey. Whether the interactions are with the class deans, working with the Academic Resource Hub, or seeking guidance from health professions, scholarships/fellowships, support for our student athlete, or forensics, the Office of Advising is excited to welcome our students back to Scott Hall.”

Seth Holiday, Director of Equipment Services, Athletics, Labor Day 2021

Seth Holiday, director of equipment services, Athletics

“During the summer in the equipment room, we make sure that all of our orders come in at the correct time. We also take care of laundry needs for the students that are on campus. Towards the middle of July, we are getting shipments of gear to check in and make sure that we are prepared for the first athletes to come in August. That means setting up locker rooms, getting uniforms ready to go, and making sure our athletes have everything they need to succeed.

We also start to look ahead to the next fall and start planning ahead for new uniforms, clothes, and shoes for spring and fall of 2022. We are always trying to think ahead and be ready to help our teams succeed on and off the field.”

Tracie Addy, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, Director of CITLS, Labor Day 2021

Tracie Addy, associate dean of teaching & learning, director of CITLS

“Each semester of the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique opportunities and challenges. During the fall 2021 semester, CITLS will remain responsive to the teaching and learning needs of our community. At present we are focusing on providing resources (e.g. mini-recordings, newsletter articles, and opportunities for faculty members to connect) on timely topics that take into account the current landscape of higher education, as well as apply what has been learned from teaching during COVID-19 for a more empowered return to campus. To further such efforts, CITLS faculty fellows will offer sessions focused on strategies that engage students in learning and that foster equity and inclusion implemented in their own classrooms. The wellbeing of both students and faculty members will be a large emphasis of our initiatives, much needed during this season of teaching and learning.”

Mark Choquette, Assistant Director, Gateway Career Center, Labor Day 2021

Mark Choquette, assistant director, Gateway Career Center

“Every member of Gateway Career Center worked hard to focus their efforts on adapting to the new world, a challenging feat when considering the rapidly changing dynamics and uncertainties of employers and the global work world. Despite those uncertainties, Gateway didn’t miss a step, and we are full steam ahead looking at the fall semester.

Our priority now is to help students reflect on the past 18 months and coach them on how to leverage what they achieved in that time, and how to use it as a springboard to their future endeavors. We’ve worked hard to transform our programming and services to be accessible by all, and currently, we are looking forward to capitalizing on our strong adaptability for students returning to campus in August. No matter the circumstances, we are prepared to empower students to explore their interests, seek and land internships and jobs, and connect with the vast network of Lafayette alumni. Further, our team continues to build new relationships and strengthen old ones, with employers whose recruiting tactics and policies are changing every day.

Gateway is excited to offer our services, programs and brand new virtually-focused resources in a dynamic, hybrid model moving forward. Maintaining some virtual components is crucial, whether due to safety, or to now having greater access to alumni and employers in areas outside of the northeast who would love nothing more than to assist our hard-working and dedicated students.”

Jessica Pignataro, Marketing Manager, Bon Appetit Management Company, Dining Services, Labor Day 2021

Jessica Pignataro, marketing manager, Bon Appetit Management Company (Dining Services)

“Dining Services is thrilled to welcome students back to our cafés this semester for a more traditional campus dining experience. As always, the health and well-being of students is our top priority. While continuously monitoring CDC recommendations, updating our guidance as needed, and regularly communicating with our on-site team, we stand ready to make adjustments as needed to continue safely feeding our community. Part of our philosophy at Bon Appetit is the belief that food plays an important role in bringing guests together and building culture. Our chefs will continue to use fresh, local ingredients that meet our sustainability standards. We look forward to nourishing Lafayette’s campus community this fall with food people will love.”

Categorized in: Faculty and Staff, Featured News, News and Features