I am sure that each of you shares my horror at the natural disasters that have wrought havoc in the last month, along the Gulf Coast, in the Caribbean, Mexico, and in the counties just north of us.
Many of you have been personally affected by the tragedies, and are helping out family and friends, while also staying on top of your academic obligations. Remember that there are campus resources for mental health, financial, and even legal support that may be of assistance. For those who would like to help others, constructive ways to assist are suggested by the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.
Because disasters — whether fire, flood, or earthquake — can strike anytime, I urge you to take time to make plans for an emergency; this campus website can help you think through what’s right for your own circumstances.
To get you started, here are two simple suggestions:
Back up all of your important documents and files in the Cloud. You don’t want to lose your thesis or dissertation!
Designate a friend or family member who lives at some distance — in a different telephone area code, perhaps in another state — to be your ‘personal call center’ if your own phone becomes inaccessible or overloaded, and share their contact information with family and friends, so that you can keep track of each other. In an emergency event, change the voicemail on your phone(s) to direct callers to your ‘personal call center’ and provide whatever information you can on your own situation.
These are hard times. The Berkeley graduate community can and should rely on one another for support, even as we do what we can as individuals to make a difference today and into the future.
With warm regards,
Fiona M. Doyle
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies
and Dean of the Graduate Division