Our NYU: April 1, 2021
A Note from President Hamilton
Spring arrived in fits and starts this year, and now we can see one of my favorite signs of the season—the 3,000 daffodils sprouting up around campus that were planted in the fall by the NYU grounds staff and community volunteers. The annual bloom, among millions of daffodils throughout NYC as part of the New Yorkers for Parks’ Daffodil Project, are an especially welcome sight this season, when we share a hopeful anticipation of what’s to come as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19.
People find all kinds of ways of serving, as the Daffodil Project shows. That commitment to service, even during the pandemic, has kept me hopeful during this extraordinary time. The NYU community has always been dedicated to public service in its various iterations, and more so in this time of great need.
Students, faculty, and staff continue to offer their time, expertise, and resources, writing letters to those isolated with COVID-19, providing pro bono help to businesses, or tutoring school children. The AMC maintains its robust community partnerships, sponsoring book drives with public schools in Brooklyn and the Bronx last month that yielded donations of nearly 550 books.
Many in our community are dedicated to a life of public service, either through scholarship or careers in government and nonprofit organizations. NYU recently received a generous gift from former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to establish the Georgina and Charlotte Bloomberg Public Service Fellowship at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School to provide a unique curriculum, scholarships, paid internships, and mentorship to the next generation of government and nonprofit leaders. Our community partners with the city: Gallatin students and faculty, for example, study a work of literature with public high school teachers and students through the Great World Texts collaboration. NYU Silver’s Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End-of-Life Care will train social workers at NYC social services agencies to care for bereaved individuals and families, prioritizing those working in communities of color and marginalized populations hit hardest by COVID-19.
The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery recently formed a teen council to engage young voices, gaining their valuable input on exhibitions and educational programs. NYU Shanghai students volunteered this year to teach online classes to elementary school children in rural areas, and raised the equivalent of more than $2,000 to buy school supplies and backpacks.
It has been a year of many struggles, and I am proud that even amid our own challenges and daily stresses, we show commitment to our communities, our cities, and our society.
As we near the end of this pandemic, the most important way we can serve our community is to avail ourselves of the vaccine, continue to follow NYU’s health protocols, and keep each other safe. Together we can look forward to resuming life on campus as we know it.
The pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity, and many mutual aid programs have stepped up to serve as a safety net. Like many of you, Jennie and I have responded locally, donating food to one of the community fridges that you may have noticed have popped up in our surrounding neighborhoods. At NYU, the Hemispheric Institute has been supporting emergency food programs and feeding hundreds of thousands of immigrants through four partners in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, including Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in Washington Heights (above). (Photo: Marcial Godoy).
In spite of the challenges of this past year, I’m heartened that access to medical care has become a central focus. NYU Law’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic partnered with PrEP4All, an HIV advocacy group, to publish a user’s guide on Section 1498, an obscure law that allows the federal government to bypass privately owned patents to increase access to medications through accelerated licensing and distribution of generic versions. The 46-page guide was authored by (above, from left) Joseph Adamczyk (Law ’22), Adrienne Lewis (Law ’22), and Shivani Morrison (Law ’21).
Outreach is a critical component for our schools, and I’m so proud of the ways in which our faculty and students have remained engaged in spite of the pandemic. The NYU Meyers student group Men Entering Nursing, along with Professor Fidel Lim, made virtual visits with high school students from LaSalle Academy on the Lower East Side, Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, and Lenape High School in New Jersey, discussing topics ranging from preventing COVID-19 and heart health to men pursuing careers in nursing.
As a proud grandfather of a new (second!) grandchild, I can appreciate how difficult it has been for so many families who have had only a limited ability to see each other this past year. Our community has felt this acutely, and over the recent Lunar New Year, many NYU Shanghai students and their families stepped forward and shared this important holiday with classmates who couldn’t return home. Above, from left to right: Corey Chen (’24) from Los Angeles, California, Jinuk Kim (’24) from South Korea, Andy Zhang (’24) from Shandong, China, and Ziming Xu (’24) at Xu’s family home in Shanghai.
The NYU community continues to inspire me with its generosity during an extraordinary time of need. The NYU Community Fund raised nearly $90,000 for neighborhood nonprofits including Dances for a Variable Population (above), and more than $30,000 for the United Way of NYC. In addition, NYU America Reads/America Counts, one of NYU’s oldest civic programs, transitioned to a virtual model for this year, with student tutors supporting 290 teachers in 55 public schools throughout New York City.
For many kids, school-based oral care provided by entities such as our own NYU Dentistry is a vital part of their healthcare. A new study led by NYU Dentistry’s Rick Niederman found that school-based dental programs can reduce cavities by more than 50 percent. Though some of these programs have been paused due to COVID-19, the findings underscore the importance of resuming this care.
Self-care and mental well-being have been especially important this past year, and I want to remind you that resources are available on all of our campuses for students, faculty, and staff. At NYU Abu Dhabi, the Raising Empowered Advocates for Community Health (REACH) program has helped its student body through peer counseling, serving as an outlet for those in need of help—as well as the counselors, such as Tan Zhong Chen (Zack) (’23), above.
Like you, I was stunned by the recent Atlanta shootings and deeply troubled by continued attacks against people of Asian descent. The outpouring of support and solidarity gives me hope, and I and the University remain committed to stand against hate and racism in any form. Sabrina Lin (Tisch ’24) and her brother produced a moving short film, Catching Love, in response to the xenophobia and violence that began increasing last spring.
Finally, I was thrilled to participate in one of my favorite University traditions, the All-University Games, which were remote this year, but no less spirited! I had the privilege to host the trivia contest, attempting to stump our astute contestants on NYU facts. (Did you know, for example, that 2,500 eggs go into the Strawberry Fest cake every year?)