Friday, February 8, 2008

Feb. 8 -- Daily update from the president

We have turned the corner on phase one of our recovery process, moving out of our initial emergency phase to a long-term look at recovery. The next steps will focus on campus clean up, which will begin on Friday morning.

Faculty and staff, who are available to help, and other volunteers should report to Luther Hall at the south end of the campus between 9 and 9:30 a.m. We will begin these important efforts, which will also include the ongoing efforts to help retrieve student belongings from the dorm rooms. We will also prioritize these two activities on Saturday.

We continue to pray for our students, especially those who are recovering from injury and those who are experiencing displacement I am so grateful for all who have provided such personal attention and care for our students during this time.

We were pleased to welcome Gov. Bredesen, as well as the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of FEMA, to campus on Thursday. They represent people from across the nation who are offering their prayers, their encouragement and their support for us during this time. We give thanks for each one of them. TBC and SBC leaders also came to campus on Thursday to pray for us and to offer their support for Union. We are deeply moved by this outpouring of support.

We will be announcing important matters regarding temporary housing for our students, as well as scheduling considerations for the remainder of the spring semester in the next few days. I am so very thankful for everyone's patience as we assess and prioritize the many, many decisions that have to be made at this time.

It is important for us to recognize that we must move to an "essentialist" mindset for the remainder of the spring semester. This is a different way of thinking about our work at Union University, but it will hopefully allow us to have the right framework to think about the many changes that are forthcoming, some of which, I am sure, we have yet even to consider.

Everyone continues to have a wonderful spirit of hopefulness as we face the challenging days ahead. We must think differently, even as we claim the same "Union spirit" that has been so important for our community in days past. Above all, we must continue to think in an "other-centered" way, so that we think about those things that are good for all, and those about us, even as we ultimately place our trust and hope in our providential God, who will guide us each step of the way.

-- David S. Dockery, president, Union University