“How are you sustaining your motivation level? Have you figured out a way to balance working from home with your personal life? Would you like to stop for a moment and take the time to express how you really feel without fear of being judged?”

These and other questions were explored in this week’s double appointment – Monday, February 8, and Wednesday, February 10 – with Franklin Faculty and Staff community on “Surviving or thriving during a pandemic”, a conversation on personal and professional experiences during these difficult times. The initiative was realized and created by Deborah Knaust – Dean of Student Life and Engagement – and Olivia Della Croce – Ombudsperson at FUS and candidate for Nonviolent Communication Certification – in an effort to gain perspectives on the struggle and effects of social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation.

We all have had troubles adjusting and coping with COVID-19 consequences. We have been experiencing uncertainty, stress, worry and fear. Anxiety is a common reaction in these circumstances, paving the way for negative thoughts and increasing alienation. Exactly what the “Surviving or thriving during a pandemic” conversation intended to counterattack, bringing the Franklin community together, even if only virtually, encouraging social connection, resilience, engagement and altruistic attitude. During the sessions, all participants curiously engaged in a speaking and listening activity, a personal and thoughtful moment to address feelings, emotions and moods affected by the changes we had to make to our daily life because of COVID-19. Divided into pairs, each partner listened carefully without interrupting as the other expressed impressions and state of mind, to later switch roles, describing positive and negative outcomes.

The program sparked significant interest, and Olivia Della Croce explains that this is only the first of many Nonviolent Communication related initiatives that she would enjoy to continue organizing, thus sustaining the adult Franklin community. As Ombudsperson, Della Croce supports Franklin Staff and Faculty in cases of conflict or disagreement between colleagues, either organizing single sessions or a mediation discussion between the parties.

Keep a lookout for more personal conversation appointments and reach out to Olivia Della Croce at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..