To one and all, welcome back to campus. I cannot wait for things to start up again, but it is going to be a challenging fall semester, and a challenging academic year. Universities in the US have opened but then quickly shut down because of the daunting health challenges. Franklin plans to be open, using a flexible hybrid learning model, and with students from all over the world. I am grateful to our wonderful staff for coming up with a realistic plan of action. The plan can work because of our small size, because of our location in Switzerland, and because we are a community committed to one another’s wellbeing and the welfare of the larger Lugano community.

Students coming back to Franklin from countries like Brazil, Russia and the US, are being asked to self-isolate for ten days, and we are enforcing those regulations rigorously. It is not easy for them, but these students are doing something that is difficult but that is for the greater good. The responsibility for the greater good belongs to all of us, however, not just to students, and not just to students returning from certain parts of the world. We, the entire community including faculty and staff, need to do what is right. We all need to be aware. We all need to support each other for the safety of all. We all need to follow some simple rules: masks properly worn indoors at all times, social distancing, sanitary protocols, contact tracing (the Swiss Covid App!), and so on. These rules are not negotiable, but we must follow them because they are essential and important, not because we are made to do so.

On Wednesday, August 19 2020, I videotaped a message about a new initiative, “The Pledge.” As I am sure you have noticed, video messages have never been my strong suit. Our social media experts inform me that what we produced was not half bad, but really, what else could they say? So I hope that they can edit it into something comprehensible, but just in case, I wanted to follow up with this message, hoping that I can do a better job with the written word.

The idea of the Pledge was stolen from another university. My motto has always been that if you find a good idea, use it, with acknowledgement and permission of course. We have received permission and have adapted the pledge to our situation. My thanks to Dean Sara Steinert Borella for her help, and to the rest of the President’s Cabinet for their input. The Pledge is attached to this message. I consider it less of a formal document than an opportunity to embrace our membership in the Franklin community. So, in addition to signing the pledge, I’d love to have you support the pledge on video. Do a quick video and send it to us. Say something about Franklin, about why you care, about what it means to you, either on video or by posting a picture with #FranklinWePledge sign. We are small but have shown remarkable resiliency in the last six months. The trustees, the alumni, the faculty, the staff, and especially the students have worked hard, have pulled together to keep our community safe. We are a community of learning. We are learning from each other under very difficult circumstances. Let’s support each other. Take the #FranklinWePledge!

Sincerely,

Greg Warden