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A Message of Appreciation and Pride

A Statement from the President...

The tragic events of this past week have touched us all and have forever changed the lives of both the American people and our friends throughout the world. What has not changed, however, is the indomitable spirit of the ESF community.

As we began to understand the enormity of the situation on Tuesday, we all experienced feelings of helplessness and a strong sense that we should be doing something. While many of us are frustrated by the fact that there is not a great deal that we can do at this time to ease the suffering and assist with clean-up efforts, we have come together as a community to help one another deal with this attack on our nation.

As soon as we became aware of the events on September 11, our first concerns were for our students, many of whom have family and friends in the New York City and Washington, DC areas. Campus staff mobilized quickly to set up a gathering place for students in the Alumni Lounge. Televisions were set up and telephone lines were activated to allow students to try to contact family members. Food was brought in, faculty and staff volunteered to be on site, and information on available counseling services was distributed. Approximately 70 students, transported in ESF vans with volunteer drivers, went to the Red Cross to donate blood.

As Wednesday dawned and we began to understand the extent of the damage and loss of life, undergraduate and graduate students and staff worked closely together to plan a candlelight vigil that was held on the ESF Quad at 4:00 pm. Following the vigil, which was attended by hundreds and broadcast live on a local television station, we kept one candle lighted. It was this ESF candle that was used to light the first candle in the Syracuse University candlelight service that began at 8:00 pm. Also on Wednesday, students and employees continued to donate blood, and a web site <http://cww.esf.edu/discus/messages/board-topics.html> was set up to allow students to express their thoughts about the tragedy.

Today, on this national day of prayer and remembrance, banners will be placed on our campus entry sign to honor the victims. The banners will simply read: “September 11, 2001 – In Remembrance.” In addition, members of our Physical Plant staff are hanging large American flags at numerous locations on campus.

We will continue to look for ways to provide assistance and demonstrate our concern, and we will probably also continue to be frustrated by the limitations on what we can do at this time to truly make a difference. I encourage the entire College Community to support the relief efforts that our student groups will be announcing next week, as described in a message sent earlier today from the Office of Student Activities.

I want to thank each one of you who volunteered your help during the past week. I’d like to list all of your names, but there are so many that it would be impossible. However, I want to make sure that you all understand how proud I am to be associated with such an extraordinary group of people. When I came to ESF last year, I knew that this was a very special place with very special people. This past week, you proved to me just how special you are.

In the days to come, the spirit of our community will likely be tested in as-yet-unknown ways. I am confident that we will rise to the challenge. I ask that you take care of yourselves and take care of each other.

Neil Murphy, President