The Columbia University community has weathered many crises over our 266-year history. We are making our way through the COVID-19 pandemic more determined and united than ever before. In support of the University Archives Documenting COVID-19 at Columbia project, we have created a collection of stories and memories.
We are #ColumbiaTogether.
WHAT MATTERS TO YOU NOW?
Stories by Columbia Faculty and Staff
My daughter and I took this video on March 20, 2020, at the beginning of quarantine. The two of us have been isolating in our NYC apartment since. In this video, Covid and quarantine are all quite new to us. We had no idea how long it would last.
It was 9 pm, and as I peered into his room and saw my brother gasping for air in his sleep, I told my mom that we had to go to the hospital that instant, even if he refused. We woke him and all got dressed and I told him, "get on my back Miguel, I'll carry you to the car". Among his crying and shouting he refused, "I am a man". We helped him walk toward the running car but Miguel collapsed in my arms.
Read Full Story: Miguel Angél — Special Needs in the time of coronavirus
My logical mind keeps wondering – why? Why is this happening? Why now? Why to us? Are we being punished? Punished for not caring enough - about ourselves, about our families, about each other, about the planet?
Trauma-informed teaching recognizes that past and ongoing trauma can impact current student success, and employs strategies to foster a supportive environment and reduce barriers to learning. An example is sharing power with students through collaboration and choice about course decisions.
"You’re hoping for the best, but you’re expecting it could get worse. You start thinking 'What can I do?' And all of the sudden it hits you: 'There’s really nothing I can do.' And it's alienating."
I am blessed and grateful to be COVID-19 survivor, especially being so many, many lives were lost. The virus was like nothing I ever experienced in my lifetime. I still am experiencing side effects and pushing through them.
This is my brother's story. I can say I faced similar discrimination during daily exercise (walks or playing tennis) as a first generation immigrant from India.
Read Full Story: When the jokes aren't funny
I've heard it say that music also brings the world together and it did bring me closer to some great friends. Though virtually, I was able to unite with my friends from Russia (on the piano), and a friend and former CU employee (trumpet) all the way from the State of Georgia.
My sports medicine practice was shut down, professional soccer & baseball were shut down, and the operating room where I perform surgery on Fridays was converted to an ICU to manage the surge of patients requiring ventilators.
Read Full Story: Coronavirus Humility for a Sports Medicine Surgeon in the ER
“I was very stressed about my infected friends here in NY and about my parents and grandparents back in California. Focusing on work has been difficult,” says Aubrianna Decker.
Q&A on the Impact of Pandemic on Postdocs and Graduate Students (written Presha Rajbhandari)
My sister answers the phone and I hear a celebration in the background, which makes me very happy. It’s always quiet when I call. With a cheesy grin, I said my regular, "Hello darlin'." Ahsien said, "Mommy died." Silence.
The Morningside campus is deserted. My dog Pickles Shlafmitz and I check on it every other day. We do our rounds. We run, tumble, and play ball. The silence is disturbing. Has this time and space continuum of study fallen under a spell, like a kingdom in a fairy tale?
Our Work Day
Some of us have new work spaces at home, while others are on campus.
My little coworker takes notes as I dictate the agenda for the day.
I am happy to be of service during this difficult time.
My cats have been trying way too hard to help me.
The Office of the President virtual staff retreat was a success.
Last day at The Office (March 13, 2020) versus The Home Office.
Breakfast nook turned into a home office. Happy to work from home, the new normal.
Raising a glass to a successful first virtual team retreat! The Forum staff gathered for a Zoom happy hour following part one of our online summer retreat activities.
Very happy to be back and teach microsurgery again!!
I miss everyone....but I'm good!
New work location!!! Staying safe and strong!!!
My new norm.......NAMASTE!
Working from home in Central Harlem; making the best of it!
Grateful for my new workspace:
My teammate FruFru always gives thoughtful feedback.
A NYC public high school student earns his FCC Amateur Radio license with the CUARC Volunteer Examiner team and the ARRL performing a fully remote video-supervised exam in lieu of the usual in-person exams.
Dr. Mark Nathanson and friends entertaining neighbors on the stoops of Brooklyn.
This floof is keeping me company while I work, and reminding me to stretch throughout the day. He strongly recommends the cat pose. He's more than happy to help with my spreadsheets, but he gets distracted very easily by the mouse.
Chef Mike and I prepare for a Zoom event with his stand in.
I caught my colleague day dreaming on the job! We are sticking together, avoiding TOO much news coverage and social media. Practicing some gentle yoga, breathing exercises, and binging on Rupaul's Drag Race to pass the time.
Paper writing is going quite well! A few typos and a total lack of proper citations, but Coco is ready for finals!
"The Difference between the impossible and possible lies in the person’s determination" by Tommy Lasorda
The positive part about working from home is setting up the workspace in different spots. On this rainy day, I set it up by the window to get more light and see the sprouting leaves.
From left to right in picture:
The youngest of my 3 children helping me out at my temp desk!
Stay home, stay happy. We will get through this together.
From our team to yours, we thank you for the continued support to our Columbia community!
SumoLogic.... followed me home from the office
I like being here. It lets the community know we are here for them and that we are all in this together.
Spring is one of our busiest times and the most beautiful time for grounds on campus. We have to maintain the lawns, planting beds and hardscapes. Usually we'd be prepping for graduation around this time as well.
As long as I can come in, I wear my mask and gloves as soon as I leave my house. Everyone should do that, for themselves and other people. You can’t stop living.
Driver arriving on location for the start of his run (Red Line 8:10 am Metro North stop), doing his daily trumpet call over the radio that we all look forward to as he gives us a very energetic "Good Morning"!!
We didn’t move here all that long ago and our wedding was very recent indeed when I started working and teaching from home, and I’m so grateful to be in our (usually) sunny apartment surrounded by photos from happy moments with loved ones as we navigate this new normal. I miss seeing my students in person, and I'm so proud of how they're finding their ways through this.
Coworker Ziba helps organize anything that comes out of the printer.
My fish like to have some input in my work-life.
Department of Political Science daily staff meeting.
Vicky is checking on me.
Daily staff zoom meeting
Editorial Director by Day; Pre-School Teacher by Day. (Frankie & Eric do iPad school).
Every day is a special day for a good tea china set. Fresh brew tea reminds me, "little things in life bring joy". Life is still good and every day is a brand new day!
Had to quickly assemble a home office once we went remote -- now it seems like it's been here all along!
Hannah's loving all the attention!
Kitty Kat or Leonard the Lion?
Enjoying the Arts, while I work.
When the weather gets good, I move the office out to the screen porch.
Spanish classes for Grade 1 and 2 ONLINE at TSC!
Berkeley needs more coffee on a rainy Monday...#bringyourdogtowork
Franco, my #CatCoworker, is serious about washing his paws - even while he dreams.
My dog helping me prepare my lecture.
Lets continue to stay strong!
Getting ready to begin the day.
Grateful for our shared workspace!
Our New York home office under the loft.
Making it happen.
I think I need a bigger office.
My daughter (and her dog), on break from her school work, comes down to get cuddles on occasion.
It's dark n windy.
My feline coworker is providing a lot of emotional support!
I'm always proud to be part of Columbia University.
Members of our team at our 1st virtual happy hour!
My cat Julius telling me it is time for a petting break.
My 16-year-old office mate convinced another office mate it was spirit week. His costume cheered up the whole team.
My new office mate!
Honored and lucky to be working for CU and supporting the incredible work that happens across disciplines--especially now!
My home office manager making sure I don't slack off.
Baby Juliette was eager to join in hosting a Student Panel!
My co-worker sleeps on the job!
Mara & Griffin
I am lucky to have a home office space!
Izzy, our red eared slider turtle is an expert at social distancing and meditation. She has been providing an inspirational message for me to share with my Gift Planning Team!
Kitchen doubling as home office.
Operating with six screens (not including the phone I used to take this picture), and frequent interruptions from cats Taco and Momo.
Finally found a comfortable office chair with no stains.
Music, an aromatherapy humidifier, and lots of coffee help create a comfortable workspace while away from the office.
Where I go when I need a break.
A lot of hard drives and a worker’s face mask.
I’ve been waiting for a foot warmer in the office.
BME Professor Konofagou 'working it' at home -- Do we see three computers?
My Director likes to pick different backgrounds for our Zoom daily meetings. His imagination definitely makes us laugh at 8:30 am and for that I am thankful.
Welcome to my world!
Virtual Team Meeting.
BME Department Chair Ed Guo keeps it classy while working from home. Spot of tea, anyone?
Taking advice from our campus ergonomist and rotating my workspace.
I wonder if they'll notice the difference?
Current work station filled with positive affirmations, college and travel memories, coffee and of course - hand sanitizer.
Every apartment chair is an office (photo credit: 6-year old office mate).
Work with a view.
Working away while wearing Columbia blue!
The most camera-ready family member is the pooch!
I tried to ensure sensitive materials were not visible.
My ancestors are guiding me through these challenging moments.
One of my new coworkers wishing me Good Morning!!
When in doubt, "Zoom" out!
Double Screen...No Problem. Still productive as ever.
Building Columbia websites and converting fractions, all in a days work.
Laptop on; TV off.
My workspace simple with classical music in the background.
Social Distancing @ Work.
Spring is around the corner!!
Designing, preparing and testing new course offerings for you.
Appreciative - A whole new meaning to balancing!
Shout Out to Essential Workers
Thank you to Columbia's heroes who are onsite serving our community.
Last week, I took this photo.
-Daniel, Neonatology - Allen Hospital
Kudos to Columbia Physicians and frontline workers at the CUIMC pathology lab, working on coronavirus treatments by examining the plasma of recovering COVID-19 patients. Let’s pray for a treatment to this virus.
-Junior, Office of Government and Community Affairs
This year, celebration of Nurses Week (May 6th-12th) is different due to the current crisis but it offers a timely opportunity for us to thank our frontline nurses across CUIMC for their tremendous efforts and sacrifices in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Their dedication to providing the best care possible to each and every patient, and the kindness and compassion our nurses have shown to them and their families during these incredibly difficult times, are constant reminders of what it means to have a true passion for improving the lives of others.
Stay healthy, positive and strong! Thank you all for great effort to win this fight! We are appreciate your work every day!
-Yelena, Orthopedic Surgery
Thank you to all of our essential workers for being on the front lines throughout the past few months. You’re keeping our city healthy and we very much appreciate it. Stay safe and stay positive!
You have shown true dedication, compassion and heroism during these difficult times. We all owe you a debt of gratitude. You inspire me everyday and make be proud to be a part of the same institution as you are! Stay safe and keep up the amazing work
-Robin, Physicians & Surgeons
The courage and commitment you've shown is inspiring. Thank you.
-Chuck, CUIMC HR
Shouting out ALL CUIMC employees who are navigating these trying times despite personal and professional challenges. Special thanks to our essential workers on the frontline risking their lives and our fearless leaders who we trust to get us through.
-Tonya, CUIMC HR
Thank you for all you do and the courage you show every day! Our prayers and thoughts go with you every single day.
-Mary, Institute of Human Nutrition
Stay safe, protected, and healthy for yourself, for your loved ones, for ourselves, for our loved ones and our community. You are awesome having awesome power, spirit, and dedication.
-Muhammad, The International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Earth Institute
Both of my parents are medical professionals (ER Doctor and Labor Delivery nurse) and I am in awe of them. And all of you - you're just like my mom and dad. Your integrity, sense of duty, and commitment to saving lives is something I do not thing anyone can accurately put into words. We are just so grateful and this is a badge of pride and honor you will wear forever. Thank you.
To Dr. Brenda Aiken-Thompson, Director of Medical Services: Thank you for your leadership and tremendous efforts at the Medical School and beyond. You are amazing as well as all who are working with you putting their lives on the front lines of this pandemic.
-Donna, School of the Arts
Thanks for being out there during these tough times. Missing you all.
-Jess, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
Thank you to my sisters (both nurses) and all the nurses out there. You are the human connection to all the patients separated from their families during this time. All our medical staff deserve praise, you are heroes. Your sacrifice is not unseen. Also BIG shout out to all the non-medical personnel (intake, facilities, food service, to name a few). The system would collapse without your behind the scenes work. Thank you!!
-Annette, School of Professional Studies
Words can not express the gratitude to all the essential workers. Your bravery and commitment to others define what it means to be an American. Stay strong in the fight, you make us proud!
-Pam, Environmental Health and Safety
Columbia Stem Cell Initiative members packaged 1700 face shields for healthcare workers!
-Lalena, Columbia Stem Cell Initiative
Thank you to my amazing colleagues who are going above and beyond at Studebaker and throughout the rest of Columbia University to support our students and care for our patients during these scary times. Thank you for your sacrifices - we're so grateful to have you with us!
-Jeffrey, Office of Internal Audit
I would like to extend my gratitude towards the educators, medical professionals and emergency respondents. We really appreciate their support and dedication!
-Eli, School of Professional Studies
To Dr Teresa McCann and Team! You are TRUE heroes! Stay SAFE and HEALTHY! And thanks for all you do.
-Rosa, Child and Adolescent Health - Pediatrics/ Complex Care Program
Sending deepest gratitude to all our essential workers, especially our doctors and nurses. My brother Joshua Cook, MD/PhD Columbia P&S '16, is currently treating COVID-19 patients at NY Presbyterian.
-Taylor, School of General Studies
I like to thanks all frontline doctors, nurse faculty and staff, who risked their life to save thousands of life. This act echoes the true moral of being a human. You guys are saving humanity not only humans. Thanks a lot.
-Farhan, Genetics & Development
Our community is lucky to have such dedicated, self-less staff who brave the risks to keep us going. Thank you so much!
-Gayle, CUFO Strategic Communications
A big thanks to all of our colleagues on the front lines and behind the scenes helping us to deal with the pandemic and its inevitable aftermath.
-Eric, Columbia University Press
A giant shout-out to all of you on the front lines. This institution and even this entire nation would be lost without the important roles you play!
-Josh, Institute of Comparative Medicine
Here are some of the people you are helping to keep safe--thank you so much from all of us!!! Thank you so much for the work you are doing and for all of the sacrifices that come with it!!!
-Stacey, Philosophy Department
Thank you so much for all the dedication devotional hard work, and commitment to our community. God bless you all!
-Paulina, Labor Accounting
Thank you for all do! Stay safe and be well!
-Catherine, Butler Library
While we sit here in the safety of our homes, you are out there doing the important work, and for that I thank you.
-Yosef, CUIT Network Engineering
Thanks for keeping us safe!
-Glamis, Business School
Thank you for everything you do to keep our society functioning during this scary time. My family and I appreciate you and pray for your safety. You are true heroes!
-Rosa, Office of Alumni Development
Roy, Gene, Carlos: Keeping up with the Service Now Tickets reporting to work each day and completing the Requisitions for our CU users community!
A big Thank You!
-Shelia, CUIMC Unified Communications/Telecommunications
Heartfelt thanks to all the workers, and also my colleagues in the Music Department (esp. Ana Ochoa and Erica Lockhart!)!
-Brad, Dept. of Music
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, health care professionals including cleaning crew and other people running facilities, people in grocery supply chains, people in delivery capacity, people in utilities, so many to list. THANK YOU all for keeping us alive by providing us with essentials.
-Jessie, School of Professional Studies
You are an inspiration to all of us!
-Fern, Mailman School of Public Health, Alumni Relations and Development
A heartfelt THANK YOU to all the essential workers risking their lives. May these words of encouragement help you rise above when you feel despair or alone. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. Stay strong!
God bless you Megan! Redeployed from post-grad dentistry to NYP radiology.
-Jeffrey, College of Dental Medicine
So grateful to all the essential workers and medical staff working so hard - above and beyond - right now.
-Melissa, Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre
Grateful for all that you do! Take care and stay safe!
-Amy, Journalism School
Shout out to Leilani and Natalie for holding down the fort!
-Wendy, Columbia Residential
Shout-out to Dr. Craig R. Smith - Chairman, Dept. of Surgery - for his everyday, very uplifting and informative emails. Way to go Dr. Smith and the entire Dept. of Surgery.
Shout Out to the entire Residential Team including the supers, handymen and porters. You guys/gals are definitely on the frontline, keep up the spirit, excellent work and BE SAFE!!
-Robert, Residential Operations
Thank you to all of my fellow Columbians who are out there. Stay safe and strong.
-Robin, Butler Library
I just want to congratulate CUIT for their continued and excellent support in these trying times.
-Anthony, School of Professional Studies
Thank you very much for your determined dedication, devotional and hard work to protect our community. God bless you all!
-Pauline, Accounting - Payroll
Thank you to everyone helping out in every way you can! We are all so grateful and this experience has brought us to come more together and to appreciate each other more than ever! There are no words that can express how thankful we are!
-Wendy, Anesthesia Department
Shout out to all CDM-IT staff especially those working on-site.
-Orlando, College of Dental Medicine IT
Extremely honored to call myself a colleague of the folks in Facilities, IT, Dining, and Medical Services for their continued presence on campus to support our students during this critical and chaotic time. Thank you so much!!
-Emma, Columbia Health
Great work folks! Thank you for your efforts and commitment!
THANK YOU for all that you do!
I usually teach at the hospital campus, and I'm on many of the same email lists as our frontline staff colleagues at CUMC and it's just absolutely awe-inspiring to hear about their incredible efforts for our community. I'm also really grateful to my Public Health colleagues who have been such important voices in helping so many people adapt and stay safe.
-Emily, Mailman School of Public Health
Thanks to everyone for the efforts to contain the virus! Can't wait to get back to work in the lab when NYC reopens.
Shout out to the administrative and research staff working in Labor & Delivery including nights and weekends to reduce the load on medical staff! This is not the life you signed on for, but you're making it work!
Thank you for all that you do. The safety we all are experiencing in our homes is because of your selflessness for keeping our society together as we experience this pandemic.
-Sun-Ming, Urology - CUIMC
Thank you to all my coworkers on the frontlines!!!
-Jeanine, Surgery - Transplant
We are praying for all of you. We don't know each other but it doesn't matter. God is in control of this pandemic. Thanks for the work you are all doing. May God take care of each one of you. My love from me, my family and my congregation. I lost my husband not to the virus but I am hurting for him and all that are passing away and are sick. Our prayers for all the families that are going thru pain and are hurting for their love ones. God bless you all.
Thank you to all Essential Workers for everything you. I do appreciate you and all that you do.
-Elizabeth, MBA Admissions
Thanks to all my friends at CUIMC.
With deep appreciation and respect I would like to publicly thank Oana Leric from Peds Central Admin and Windy Johnson and Anita Patel from the Division of Peds Cardiology. They have been on the front lines standing up new outpatient clinics both with and without me for the last month. They have been a true pleasure to work with (as always) and I am in their debt for the constant support they have given to the Department of Pediatrics and me personally. Thank you Oana, Windy, and Anita!
-Jim, Department of Pediatrics
Thank you kindly to all of our essential workers! Your hard work, strength, and kindness are greatly appreciated. Thank you for being NYC's guiding light in the face of this adversity.
-Ty, Office of the EVP for Research
I would like to shout out my Team on HIP 10! They have all been absolutely amazing throughout this pandemic - administrative staff, the MDs, NPs and MAs! Together we can get through anything! God bless everyone during this difficult time & May God grace us all with an abundance of life and health.
-Madeline, Department of Medicine - Breast Oncology Division
To our colleagues doing essential work--you are heroes!
-Bianca, School of Professional Studies
A thousand thanks to our colleagues from 5-HELP and Desktop support!
We couldn't do this without you!
-Connie, VP&S Office of Development
Thank you, thank you so much for your service(s). I am praying for your safety and health.
-Maritza, Law School
Big shout out to our first responders at Columbia and around the world, and to everyone who is doing their part to move through this pandemic and come out of it better and stronger.
-Urania, Office of Alumni Development
Thank you to our amazing colleagues at CUIMC and to all those serving onsite on our campuses to feed our community, clean our spaces, and keep us safe. All of you are heroes, and we are so grateful.
You are the best of us. Thank you for your courage and bravery!
-Ivy Hatsenate, Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
Thank you for all the work you do! You are true heroes!
Appreciate all essential workers - Giant Thank You!
-Mark, Finance Information Systems
We appreciate you!!! Thank you!!!!!
Thanks to all our essential workers and medical staff. We appreciate all your sacrifices and hard work!
-Mara, Columbia College
Thank you to everyone on the front lines for your incredible work and sacrifices. Thank you to everyone practicing social distancing. And thank you to everyone working to make this time easier for everyone by providing your support, lending a hand, or just sharing a smile.
Thank you to everyone working to keep us safe, healthy, and fed during this time.
To Hilary Woodward,
We salute you Hilary for your caring and your courage! You are a hero!!
Love, your friends in Yonkers and Elmsford. Big hug to you.
-Mary, Institute of Human Nutrition
We're grateful to you every day!
Grateful for the folks in Central Mail for keeping the flow going, and for the folks at Studebaker--Lisa Rogerson, Frank Valdez and Tony Gunthrope--for working hard to help the Finance team get the job done!
-Michael, Finance - Central Administration
You are the true heros! Please stay safe and healthy in this critical condition.