Students exhibit Pro Humanitate ethos

Jennifer Richwine

For the last few weeks I’ve been calling you, through our contact tracing system, and I’ve been answering your calls on the Wake Forest call center line.  All of these calls are about COVID-19.  They are to talk about quarantine, or where to get tested, or who you should talk to about your symptoms. None of these are fun topics, and they certainly aren’t the conversations you imagined having when you thought about college life.  They aren’t the conversations I imagined I’d be having in my job either. But every day, I am buoyed by my conversations with you.  Every day you make me proud that you are a Wake Forest student.  You might be scared, and frustrated and weary of testing and quarantining and wearing masks, but you’ve been polite to me on the phone, you have thanked me for my call, and one of you even said you couldn’t imagine what it was like to have to call students every day to tell them they have to go into quarantine. This gives me hope … that even in the midst of a very difficult time, you handle yourselves in a way that shows good character. That even when you are facing two weeks in a hotel room alone, you think to tell me thank you for the work I’m doing. 

This is the spirit of Pro Humanitate, that we look beyond ourselves, even when it’s difficult to do so.  Your gratitude makes these calls easier, and that is inspiring, because we are all in this together. My colleagues are all spending much our time doing things we aren’t normally doing each semester, with our one goal to keep all of you safe, and to keep this semester going as long as we possibly can. So when you respond the way you have to me … with kindness and not malice … with grace and not frustration … you show your real character.  And it is good. 

Stay safe and wear that mask!

– Jennifer Richwine (’93)

Exec. Director, Wake Washington Center