In just six months (has it really been only that long?) COVID-19 has remade our world. Whether in our roles as students, teachers, employees, volunteers, colleagues, parents, children, caregivers or friends, the pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives.

As the adversity of forced separation loomed over us, it was met in force by the ways Bruins — be they students, professors, staff or alumni — have shown resiliency, compassion and ingenuity as they’ve risen to meet this historic moment.

We bring you this visual essay, because there’s a unique power in how photography captures the temporariness of the situation in a way that feels permanent.

 

LeighAnna Hidalgo working at home with her children
Jeff Newton/UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
Despite childcare challenges imposed by the pandemic, LeighAnna Hidalgo completed her dissertation on April 13 while staying safer at home in her apartment in Los Feliz. At home, Hildago’s office became a small bistro table for a desk and her children’s bed as her chair. It was painful for her being there at home with her family, but also absent from them at the same time. “That was the hardest part. They miss me. And I feel bad about stopping them, since they want to play with me or have a tickle session. They’re not used to my husband and I being home. They’re used to being at day care or kindergarten, so they want our attention.”

But the experience has not been without its ironic family moments. “I had to finish my dissertation on time, so I started a countdown: ‘OK guys just four more days, and then I am all yours.’ My daughter would say, ‘Mommy, I can’t wait. When this is over we’re just going to snuggle all day.’ Of course, when it finally happened, she snuggled me for two minutes and then she was over it, and went off to do something else.”

 

Phoebe Miller studies alone
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Junior Phoebe Miller, an atmospheric and oceanic sciences major, works alone in a large study area that would usually be crowded.

 

People in dining hall wearing masks
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Students and staff in the dining halls adapted to wearing face masks and speaking through the plexiglass barriers.

 

Dayanni Bhagwandin
Dayanni Bhagwandin
UCLA graduate student Dayanni Bhagwandin participates in the California NanoSystems Institute’s Kitchen Science Experiment on biopolymers. This was the first in a series of online demonstrations for high school students and their teachers. These demonstrations introduced nanotechnology concepts that the students and teachers could perform at home with readily available materials.

 

Moctesuma Esparza
Jeff Newton/UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
Moctesuma Esparza, a two-time UCLA alumnus, is a veteran film producer and CEO of Maya Cinemas, a theater chain serving Latino communities. Esparza serves on the dean’s executive board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. With film production, movies theaters and schools all closed, Esparza remains active at his home in Sierra Vista.

“The challenge is to find ways to be engaged with life, which is to be of service. Before COVID-19, I used up my phone battery everyday talking on numerous calls for four or five hours. That hasn’t changed.”

For Esparza, resilience starts with a life dedicated to service to one’s community but also introspection.

“What I have done is both strengthen my discipline of meditation and continue finding ways to be engaged. Herd immunity is not just about antibodies; it starts with emotional wellbeing and resilience grounded in our need to be together. For Latinos, that explains the paradox that we face more health challenges than any other group but have longer life spans.”

 

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan - home office
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
Kristy-Guevara Flanagan, associate professor of film, and her daughter were on their computers in their shared home office space during the safer-at-home orders caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Ryan Rockmore dancing
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
It’s hard to be a flamenco dancer while staying safer at home in a populated apartment building in Los Angeles. So, we asked Ryan Rockmore, Ph.D. candidate in culture and performance in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, to visit the empty campus and show us his art form.

Some thoughts on the pandemic from Ryan: “During this time, I am trying to use the isolation and solitude that I have been granted to focus on sustainable routines and generative work habits, many of which I lacked prior to the pandemic. I also continue to feel grateful for the fact that the physical health and financial stability of my family and friends have remained largely unaffected by COVID-19. While the situation is less than ideal for me, it is far more troubling and precarious for many others; I try to keep these realities in mind when I am tempted to complain or when I start to lose focus on what this means for others around the world. In the end, I think the past couple months and the ones ahead have been and will be a time for continued interrogation of what my graduate work means in the larger scope of my life and what aspects of my artistic practice, outside of commercial success or notoriety, actually feed my soul.”

 

UCLA Broadcast Studio

 

 

Signs in a window of the Ashe Student Health Center at UCLA that read: “You can do this!” and “It’s okay to not be okay right now”
Jessica Wolf/UCLA
Hope could be found all over campus.

 

Team prepares personal protective equipment kits
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
UCLA Environmental Health and Safety staffers Nedrea Morgan, Daniel Bowers, standing behind her, and Mitchell Mangoba, seated, placed thousands of protective masks into individual sterile packs, along with instructions, for essential workers across campus.

 

Caroline Lee takes temperature of John Bollard
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Nurse Caroline Lee from the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, takes the temperature of John Bollard, Ashe Center co-executive director, before he goes into work.

 

Residential Life staffers Chioma Emenalom, left, and Jada Anderson, with her dog, Wookiee.
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Residential life staffers Chioma Emenalom, left, and Jada Anderson, with her dog, Wookiee.

 

Woman runs around the track at UCLA’s Drake Stadium.
Adam Amengual/UCLA
A woman runs around the track at UCLA’s Drake Stadium as a coach cheers her on from a safe distance.

 

Student studying at Powell Library
Adam Amengual/UCLA
A single student studies in a ghost–town-like Powell Library.

 

Jeremy Kirksey and Jake Elliot pushing carts of belongings
Idriss Njike/UCLA
UCLA junior Jeremy Kirksey, a biology major, and sophomore Jake Elliott, a psychobiology major, pushing carts with their belongings as they move during UCLA’s safer-at-home orders.

 

Gustavo De Santiago Reyes hanging a picture in his room
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Gustavo De Santiago Reyes moving into his new residence hall room where he had total control over all the decorating.

 

UCLA Alumni parents’ council in an online meeting
UCLA Alumni Affairs
The end-of-year celebration for the UCLA Alumni Parents’ council was a massive Zoom event this year. The UCLA Parents’ Council is the governing body of the UCLA Parent & Family Association and is made up of dedicated parent volunteers who serve as ambassadors for UCLA.

 

Erin Cooney creates home studio
D. Thomas
Erin Cooney tapes a maze onto the floor of her apartment which she’s creating for her M.F.A. thesis project performance, while her dog, Habibti, watches. “I’m an M.F.A. grad student in design media arts and I’m building a labyrinth maze in my apartment in which I’ll be doing a walking performance with cameras attached to my feet as part of my M.F.A. thesis project.“

 

Physics lab at home
Courtesy of Katsushi Arisaka
A student uses a low-cost science kit to complete a UCLA physics lab at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 

Nina Duong and Aastha Lal
Idriss Njike/UCLA
UCLA Residential Life staff Nina Duong, left, and her partner, Aastha Lal.

 

Dr. Natasha Wheaton
Jessica Pons/UCLA
Dr. Natasha Wheaton on a break from a shift at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center holding a thank you drawing from a patient.

 

Team UCLA ER spelled in flowers
UCLA Alumni Affairs
#TeamUCLA in flowers was part of a collaborative effort between UCLA Alumni Affairs and the UCLA Volunteer Center to collect messages of gratitude for health care and other essential workers.

 

Chandra Ford on Spectrum News 1
Spectrum News 1
Chandra Ford, right, associate professor of community health sciences in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and director of the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, being interviewed by Alex Cohen on “Inside the Issues” on Spectrum News 1. Throughout the first half of the year, faculty have been interviewed hundreds of times to offer their expertise and help the public better understand what’s happening with COVID-19. 

 

Person carrying to go containers
Idriss Njike/UCLA
All food was served as takeout in the dining halls on the Hill.

 

Ros Warby teaching dance class at home
Kristy Edmunds
“Teaching remotely is interesting. There is a different focus. The material is transmitted through language, anatomical information (images, the model skeleton, and of course some minimal moving). I feel the course structure is more streamlined. Although the absence of moving the way we know it, and the absence of touch is so challenging in a course that is centered around touch and hands on guidance, it is somehow more intimate and focused. We are learning in a very different way, for sure,” said Ros Warby, adjunct professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, shown teaching “Dance 160: Topics in Body Mechanics: Alexander Technique.”

 

Gustavo Tepetla’s living room production studio
Gustavo Tepetla
“I had to convert part of my living room area into a creative production studio in order to be able to complete assignments for my major, design media arts, and for my minor in visual and performing arts education. As you can see from the toys, I am also a father/parenting student of a 3-year-old daughter, Kayla,” said Gustavo Tepetla.

 

Carlin Faucett, “Bedside Companion” sculpture
Carlin Faucett
Carlin Faucett, “Bedside Companion,” (2020), for Candice Lin’s Art 148 Advanced Ceramics class.

 

IT Services packing loaner laptops
Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
From left: Kimberly Salinas, Alexandria Gamble and Will Dubin, at the IT Services office in the UCLA Wilshire Center as they pack laptops, mi-fi devices and other tech supplies to ship to students as part of a recent expansion of UCLA’s loaner program.

 

Student in Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons
Kelly Ma/UCLA
Campus Library Instructional Computing Commons, or CLICC, offers technology and support for UCLA students, faculty and staff. As UCLA moved to remote learning, CLICC’s student consultants and UCLA Library staff rapidly distributed more than 1,600 laptops, tablets and mobile hotspots to students and faculty to ensure equitable access to classes. The CLICC cubbies at Charles E. Young Research Library, pictured, emptied soon after UCLA issued its safer-at-home order.

 

Exerciser next to The Bruin statue
Emil Chang/UCLA
During safer-at-home orders, trainers from UCLA’s Bruin Health Improvement Program, or BHIP — a full-body conditioning program that typically happens five days a week on campus — quickly pivoted to creating accessible at-home workouts emailed weekly to participants.

 

Darling Sianez triptych
Jeff Newton/UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
Darling Sianez, business manager at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, lives in a three-generation household in El Sereno. Working from home during the pandemic has eliminated her lengthy commute, but balancing work and family life in the confines of a small house is stressful. Given the tight quarters in her home, and the need to shelter in place, Sianez bought a small trampoline to help her work out her tension, manage her anxiety, and get her daily exercise.

“So, I start the day on my tiny trampoline because I can’t work out any other time of the day. I use videos online to learn new exercises. It’s fun and relaxing, even though my legs are sore. It’s really hard. Ten minutes on the trampoline feels like I have run a mile. But it’s nice to get off the ground,” she said.

Sianez visits campus twice a week to take care of essential business.

“It’s kind of scary to be in an empty building, but I really enjoy walking around the campus. I don’t think we really appreciate how beautiful UCLA is when we’re all there working, studying, taking a lunch break, or talking to each other. This is a very special place.”

 

Sylvan Oswald
Sylvan Oswald
Sylvan Oswald, assistant professor of theater, shooting a mini-lecture in his work-from-home setup.

 

Melony Varnado
Melony Varnado
Early on in the crisis, city, county, state and federal leaders held daily press briefings on the coronavirus and a team from UCLA Strategic Communications, including Melony Varnado, was tasked with watching every one and writing short recaps that were shared immediately with their colleagues. Some people were so busy that these emails became vital daily sources of news.

 

Meryl Friedman
Meryl Friedman
Meryl Friedman, director of education and special initiatives, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, during CAP UCLA Online Poetry Bureau.

 

Darby Hughes - proctor
Idriss Njike/UCLA
Darby Hughes, from Orange County, serving as a proctor. Hughes is a member of the UCLA class of 2021, majoring in Chinese and minoring in accounting.

 

Typewriter on a table for Poetry Bureau
Jessica Wolf/UCLA
“Poems I wrote for the CAP UCLA online poetry bureau. Typically this happens in person before performances on campus. We did two of them online instead during National Poetry Month in April,” said Jessica Wolf, senior media relations officer in UCLA Strategic Communications.

 

Powell Cat
Christelle Snow/UCLA
“I’ve been making trips to campus to take photos requested by our audience for their Zoom backgrounds. One thing that I found really important to Bruins, especially current students and recent grads, is Powell Cat. He seems to have become an avatar for our collective wellbeing. If Powell Cat is OK, we will be OK,” said Christelle Snow, social media manager in UCLA Strategic Communications.

 

This project would not have been possible without collaboration from people across campus. Huge thanks to: Adam Amengual, Katsushi Arisaka, Avishay Artsy, Ariane Bicho, Dayanni Bhagwandin, Anne Marie Burke, Kylie Carrigan, Samantha Chan, Emil Chang, Cheryl Cheng, Erin Cooney, Carla Denly, Sarah Dundish, Anna Elgart, Kristy Edmunds, Rebecca Epstein, Moctesuma Esparza, Carlin Faucett, Melissa Faybik, Al Ferrone, Estellaleigh Franenberg, Meryl Friedman, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Liv Heidenreich, Sebastian Hernandez, LeighAnna Hidalgo, Noela Hueso, Manuel Huitron, Reed Hutchinson, Hildie Katibah, Rebecca Kendall, Magyn Kydd, Candice Lin, Kelly Ma, Lisa Martino, Beth Massura, Suzannah Mathur, Peg Moline, Shilo Munk, Jeff Newton, Idriss Njike, Sylvan Oswald, Jessica Pons, Ryan Rockmore, Marc Roseboro, Darling Sianez, Christelle Snow, Gustavo Tepetla, D. Thomas, Melony Varnado, Ros Warby, Charles Wilcotts and Jessica Wolf.