A message from the Taylor Center’s executive director, Kenneth Schwartz
Dear Taylor Community,
We are following Tulane’s COVID-19 policies. For current University policies, visit tulane.edu/emergency.
At 5 p.m. on Monday, Tulane’s Howard Tilton Memorial Library (along with our office) closed for at least thirty days. Our staff members are working remotely, we are holding meetings virtually, and faculty members will soon be teaching all of their courses online.
In this time of uncertainty, I am comforted by the words of our namesake, Mrs. Phyllis Taylor. At the founding of our center, she wrote:
“The goal is to move Tulane to the forefront of universities engaged in solving social problems, and to do so with humility, recognizing that the best ideas often arise from the collective wisdom of the community and not always from the theoretical musings of experts.”
The collective wisdom of New Orleans community members, staff, students, administrators, and faculty guide our continued work at the Taylor Center. As our society experiences profound change, design thinking and social innovation are more relevant than ever.
How will COVID-19 impact Taylor’s work going forward?
- PIVOT 2020 will transition to a one-day virtual event, to build community among researchers. We are creating a schedule for the day and updating the call for participation. The coordinating team is excited to envision what a virtual gathering can offer.
- The Taylor Student Showcase will also be a virtual event. Everyone is welcome to join the Showcase to learn about and provide direct feedback in real-time to our 2020 Changemaker Institute social venture graduates. Stay tuned for the updated event time, date, and remote access link.
- We postponed the Coronavirus Workshop for now. Keep an eye on this newsletter for information about a planned online version with videos and self-guided activities in April.
- Our monthly breakfast, Design Thinking the New Orleans Way(s), will be moving to an online format until further notice. These breakfasts intend to further foster community among those using design, design thinking, and related methods for social impact in the greater New Orleans area. To that end, we look forward to connecting virtually until it is safe to commune in-person again.
- Writing Retreats are moving to a virtual format. We want to support our community of writers in staying connected, staying healthy, and continuing our work of knowledge production and dissemination.
- Taylor Your Life for Graduate Students is moving to an online format and will be held for the next four weeks virtually on Fridays.
- In response to the announcement from President Fitts, Taylor will follow recommendations on funding as outlined by the university.
- For the current funding process, Taylor will continue to review applications as usual but will not disburse funds until the university lifts its policy on non-essential travel and in-person contact.
- Experiences that will occur from March 15 to May 17 will not be funded unless they are virtual experiences.
- Furthermore, funding disbursements for summer opportunities will only occur once Tulane has amended its policies related to travel and classes.
- Please visit the Tulane COVID19 FAQ page for more information.
- We are creating online resources to share our work with the world. Planned projects include a pocket guide on life design education, articles from our research and scholarship team, and tools for bringing design thinking into the classroom.
- We are planning a team book club and reading the work of inspiring institutions.
- Our global changemaker community, the Ashoka U Exchange 2020, is going virtual and more affordable and accessible.
- Please keep emailing us questions and ideas about our work.
SUPPORTING THE GULF COAST
Fellow team members and I are finding ways to support members of the Gulf Coast community financially. Organizations team members have supported include:
- With the decision to move spring classes online because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), alumni, parents, and friends have asked how they can help. Consider supporting students today with a gift to the Tulane Student Emergency Aid and Assistance Fund.
- Second Harvest Food Bank
- The New Orleans Gig Economy Relief Fund
- Supporting local artists and musicians in various ways
- The Hospitality Cares Pandemic Fund
- The New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund managed by Operation Rescue
- Unity New Orleans
- Buying gift certificates or ordering take out from local restaurants
- Subscribing to local newspapers and online media that support the heroic, vital work of journalists in these challenging times
While following handwashing, social distancing practices, and the advice of local officials, you can also support your local neighbors with children by helping to connect them to regional food distribution.
- Find the location of New Orleans and Louisiana community feeding distribution sites.
- Let your neighbors know the location of the nearest site.
- Pick up food for anyone under 18 (if you have access to a car). While the situation is fluid and may change, members of the Taylor team have been allowed to pick up food for neighbors under 18.
If you have further suggestions on how to support our Gulf Coast community, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will share them with our team.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work alongside you and every member of our Taylor community.
Taylor Center Executive Director
Michael Sacks Chair in Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship