Everything has changed. We know that the world will be coping with the COVID-19 pandemic for some time. Our world has never seen anything like it. Rapidly spreading and mysterious, with a vaccine still elusive, the coronavirus continues to confound the best minds in the world.
Like universities around the globe, UCLA and its faculty, staff and students are in the thick of it, as administrators work to keep everyone safe while maintaining university operations.
We at UCLA Magazine left the Wilshire-Glendon office on Friday, March 13, which was a few days after Chancellor Gene Block announced UCLA’s transition to remote learning. On March 18, we quickly sent photographer Adam Amengual to see what he could find on our suddenly deserted campus.
His images include solo walkers on a near-empty campus and bare shelves at the UCLA Store as people stocked up on supplies. At first, we were conflicted: Do we show students in masks or not? Do we show people hugging? Celebrating, even though most of the Class of 2020 wouldn’t be able to — at least not for a while?
We know UCLA researchers are among those working on vaccines, testing and treatments, but more time and study is needed. Ideas and action are under way for sure, including a pilot Seed Grant program that the UCLA AIDS Institute is running. It makes sense. The umbrella institute will speed up the grant process, says Jerome Zack, co-director of the UCLA AIDS Institute, helping to provide funding to think tanks and helping investigators work together to understand and trounce this thing.
In A World Changed, a World the Same, you’ll read about how students, faculty and staff are coping — inspiring examples of the way our community has rallied to support one another — as this crisis continues to expose deep-seated vulnerabilities in our culture and economy. There’s also a personal essay from a nurse who recently graduated from the UCLA School of Nursing.
And I’ll admit to some little things that brought me bits of comfort and joy in recent weeks: Being able to easily make a left turn on Sepulveda Boulevard. Taking a virtual class with my pal and aerobics queen Molly Fox (and seeing her for the first time in 30 years). More time with people I love. When I gather around my laptop and phone for Zoom meetings, classes and happy hours, it feels like the families who listened together to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” during the Great Depression. Seeing my colleagues (and all the newscasters) at home is kind of nice, too.
We wanted to show you how Bruins adjust, pivot and invent. To give you some inspiration, some hope and a bit of a record of our days during this exceptional time. What resources are out there as we dig even deeper and longer into our altered life. Look After Yourself, Mentally discusses how UCLA’s existing Depression Grand Challenge (DGC) will address our long-term mental and emotional health needs after the pandemic is over through its STAND Together initiative. We can also excitedly share that the STAND Together project — based on programs created by DGC — was launched in partnership with Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD initiative.
Experts advise that we acknowledge the grief we’re feeling for the things and people we’ve lost: loved ones, our sense of security and spontaneity. Also, the grief of our nation as we mourn those killed by the racist disregard for Black life. Take a moment to feel the sadness, maybe ask others what they are mourning and what they need from you.
Be safe, be well and together we will get through this.