Dear CEWIL members and guests,
Over the past 8 weeks we have all experienced disruption to our lives - both personally and professionally and it has been my pleasure to lead CEWIL during this time to help bring some sense of direction and calm through the chaos that we have all experienced. The way in which the CEWIL community has come together under this unprecedented time, has been commendable. From volunteer hours, to urgent calls, to endless work off the sides of people's desks, to just being there for a colleague trying to piece together a sense of order and belonging - thank you. It is bigger than any of one of us. It has only been possible as a community. Together.
We have been coming together weekly to discuss issues, communicate information and in many ways, create personal connections with people who are facing similar challenges. We have received overwhelming feedback about the weekly town hall calls, the resources developed and the information shared. We are glad to have been able to help during this never experienced before time of upheaval and we know that the CEWIL community is stronger than ever before as a result. On the town hall call last week we mentioned that we would be moving to a bi-weekly call. We want to continue to engage with membership but we also recognize that the announcements and changes are a little more predictable and a little less chaotic, which gives us time to focus on the next stage of this new reality. If something changes and we feel the need to go back to weekly calls, or if special announcements are made, we will quickly come back together as we have before. We also encourage you to continue to engage in other ways, through our LinkedIn Group, our coffee chats and PD sessions, in between our calls. With this coming Monday being a holiday, our next call will be on Tuesday May 19th at 12:00 pm ET and then every other Monday at 1:00 pm ET going forward until future notice (so June 1 will be the next call, followed by June 15, June 29 etc.)
We also encourage you to keep Mondays at 1:00 pm (ET) open going forward as we have offered to keep that time slot open for groups of people to come together for a coffee/tea to discuss relevant issues in between bi-weekly Zoom town halls. If you do have a topic or would like to suggest one, please message me and we will make the arrangements for you. In the meantime, we will share back the recent data collected through the DMAC group and any information or resources in-between the meetings via email, LinkedIn or social media. I encourage you all to continue to leverage the #WILatHome & #CoopChezMoi hashtags to showcase the quality experiences that students are engaged with over the coming weeks.
Over the past few months, we have continued to open our conversations to everyone in the WIL community as we wanted to ensure that each and every person/group/organization with a vested interested in WIL could be engaged. As a volunteer run association, with an engaged membership, we also want to ensure that we provide value to our members. We will soon be providing to our guests and to the CEWIL community with the opportunity to join CEWIL with an introductory membership from June to August, which is when our memberships renew. Many things will change from COVID, some for the better, and we are hoping that our expanded network of employers, community and partners is one of the long lasting effects, as we need all of the stakeholders of WIL alongside us to continue to lead WIL in Canada.
Lastly, I want to give my personal and heartfelt thank you to the CEWIL Board, committees and volunteers. When I think back over the last 8 weeks, it's difficult to come up with any one word, emotion or sentiment to describe what we have all been through. When I heard the notion that we are not all in the same boat, we are in the same storm, it resonated with me. Everyone has had your own journey through COVID and has experienced waves that have pulled and thrown you in various directions. The fact that you have continued to commit to CEWIL, to engage for the overall good of the community and give your time and talents to us, I cannot thank you enough. Our membership thanks you. The WIL community-at-large thanks you. To the entire membership - I look forward to continuing to work alongside you through the phases of the 'Great Pandemic' and help find the answers and the path through the mayhem we are all experiencing. Thank you for your dedication to your students, to your profession and to WIL as a whole.