Samantha Ewing (she/her) ‘23
With the emergence of COVID-19, Davidson College had to make many adjustments in preparation for safely housing students on campus this year. Every COVID-related email, student housed in the quarantine facilities, and meal provided for the student body has had a hard-working team of people behind it. During these unprecedented times, several members of our community have stepped up and gone above and beyond in taking care of us.
Sally Fredricks works in the Chaplain’s Office, where her number one priority is to connect with students. “I’m a person that likes to go to lunch with students, so I’ve had to figure out a different way to connect,” she said. In order to adjust to the challenges that COVID has brought, she has resorted to Zoom to make these connections as well as to handle the programming she would normally work with in person.
In addition to her normal duties in the Chaplain’s Office, Sally also began to volunteer with meal deliveries for students in quarantine. “It’s a gift to be able to do it because we felt helpless — it was something with my hands and my feet that I could do,” Fredricks said.
Most days, Fredricks, along with a team of volunteers, loads up food from the Commons dock, drives the meals to the quarantine facilities, and delivers them to students. Before the volunteers arrive to pick up the food, the
Commons workers package the meals and label them by floor. “They did a beautiful job of having meals put together according to dietary restrictions,” said Fredricks.
She also remarked, “I can’t imagine functioning without a caring community.” With the new challenges that have come with navigating the pandemic, Sally Fredricks is one of the many members of our community that has been stepping up to take care of us.
Cissi Lyles ‘79
Another member of our community that has been working to provide for our community is Cissi Lyles ‘79. Lyles is a Davidson alum and started working at Davidson a few years after she graduated. She is now the manager of The Guest House. However, her responsibilities look very different now than they have in previous years.
“When Guest House was closed last March as it became more apparent that this was longer term than a couple of weeks, I was put on some projects to figure out how students could return to campus safely,” Lyles said.
Each day Lyles has been working to secure quarantine housing and ensure that students in quarantine are having their needs met. For instance, Lyles’s office works to provide students with towels, cleaning supplies, mail, and any academic resources they may need
during their stay. Her office also coordinates meal deliveries, factoring in dietary restrictions and preferences. Additionally, Lyles has been assisting with Microfridge setups in the rooms so that students can save their leftovers.
Lyles remarked that she regularly calls students to let them know that someone cares. “When you’re in really stale environments, a small thing can make a lot of difference,” she said.
Lilly Nichols ‘19
Lilly Nichols ‘19 is also a Davidson alum, and she began working at the Health Center when she saw the needs that arose as Davidson was navigating how to safely have students back on campus.
Each day Nichols works both with crisis management for students who are heading into quarantine as well as management and well-being for students who are already in the quarantine system. On an average day, Nichols starts her routine by checking to see if there are new positive tests before coordinating quarantine move-ins. Once positive testing students are contact-traced, Nichols gives
them an orientation where she introduces them to the quarantine space and discusses resources available to them.
As Nichols describes it, she provides “non-medical support for students who are in quarantine and isolation.” This role includes directing students towards academic and mental health resources, retrieving forgotten items, and helping students celebrate birthdays and holidays.
Nichols had just returned from working abroad with infectious diseases and maternal health in East Africa when she decided to come work at Davidson. “The reason why I was inspired to do it was because I knew this community so well,” she said. When she made the decision to begin her work here, she was eager to share her perspective as a recent student with the hope of providing a voice for current students.
Martha Howland has been taking care of our com munity by cleaning 3rd Wall and Martin Science. Howland worked part time at Davidson from 2008 to 2010, then began working full time in the Dana Science Building. Since then, she has been moved to Wall and has held the position she has now for four years.
On an average day, Howland comes into work early in the morning to clean classrooms and study rooms before students arrive. As students and professors filter in and out, Howland also recleans used spaces and objects so that they are sanitized for the next person. “I’ll keep my hands clean, I’ll wear my mask, and I’ll clean everything I can to keep everybody healthy,” she said. Howland’s daily duties have become more involved this year as she works to sanitize extra spaces and clean rooms multiple times in order to keep our
Howland also brings light into our community by leaving encouraging sticky notes on office doors. It began with a sticky note system she devised so that she would know when professors used the spaces so she could reclean them as needed. However, she began including sticky notes with positive messages such as “Have a great day!” In return, professors started leaving encouraging sticky notes as well. “We were each trying to lift each other up during the beginning of the trying time of COVID,” Howland said.
Howland has gone above and beyond not only ensuring that we have clean spaces to work and study, but also spreading positivity in our community.