Episode 56: Coronavirus Exile, Week One

This week, we come to you from four separate Connecticut towns, a circumstance imposed on us by the global coronavirus pandemic. We keep our spirits up with a visit from Prof. Janet Pritchard, a landscape photographer who won a Guggenheim Fellowship for her project on the Connecticut River watershed, and we learn about previous occasions when UConn had to cancel graduation ceremonies. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing, and join us!


Tom Breen: [00:00:00] Hi everyone, and welcome to this very strange episode of UConn 360, that’s the world’s only podcast that covers the University of Connecticut from every conceivable, febrile angle. We’re coming to you remotely, in exile, so to speak. Four of us are in four different locations because of course, the ‘rona. The coronavirus, which has gripped our entire world, has forced the university to move to online delivery of classes for the remainder of the semester.

And, uh, most employees have been sent home. Uh, that includes us. So we’ll be doing this for the duration. This is a new for us and new for everyone. So I hope this works out. I hope our lack of audio fidelity, which is something we’ve made a point of talking about in our professional.

Julie Bartucca: [00:00:57] Extensively.

Tom Breen: [00:00:59] Yeah, well, you know, circumstances dictate, you know, we had to change things up. So hopefully this doesn’t sound too, too bad.

And we hope you stick with us. We may be doing shorter episodes, we may be talking a lot about coronavirus because that’s all that people are talking about, but we’ll try to bring you some of our normal, fun and frivolity and informative stuff about the University of Connecticut. And. What do I mean by we?

Well, I’m Tom Breen. I’m your facilitator of sorts and joining me as always are my colleagues. Maxine Philavong,

Maxine Philavong: [00:01:26] Hello!

Tom Breen: [00:01:27] Hello. Julia Bartucca,

Julie Bartucca: [00:01:29] Coming to you from quarantine in Wethersfield.

Tom Breen: [00:01:31] All right. And Ken Best…manning the board.

Ken Best: [00:01:34] In the Mansfield, Mansfield center studio is in operation.

Julie Bartucca: [00:01:38] Ken is, Ken is backlit right now, and he’s just a black blob on my screen. It’s beautiful.

Ken Best: [00:01:44] I could turn the light on, but I’d have to get up and probably knock the sounds out. Okay. We don’t want to do that.

Julie Bartucca: [00:01:50] It’s like one of those, those shows where they black people out. It’s great.

Tom Breen: [00:01:55] So we’re coming to you from all across the great state of Connecticut. And, uh, why don’t we just start off by, I guess, checking in.

How’s everyone doing with our new, our strange new reality? I mean, obviously our lives have changed significantly. What, what have you liked? What have you not liked? What have you found impossible to live without?

Julie Bartucca: [00:02:09] I’m truly thriving in this environment. Um, I’m a very much an extrovert and a social person, but since everyone is home, I have no FOMO.

I am doing lots of zoom, happy hours and conference calls with colleagues and friends and family. Um, so it’s pretty good. I’m hanging out with my dogs and my husband a lot and have a good little work set up all day. So. I have not, not too bad yet. Try not to let the anxiety get the best of me.

Tom Breen: [00:02:37] Alright, that’s good. That’s positive.

Maxine Philavong: [00:02:39] I’ve been doing some online classes and it’s going fine. For my first class, um, my professor didn’t know to wear headphones, so it was just like an echo the entire time. And we couldn’t hear her for like the hour and a half, or we had class or the hour we had class, but that was fine. Today also I also went to a vitural career fair and I got to interview with some people over zoom. So that was fun. But other than that, I’ve been hanging out with my cat and my partner, so it’s been a fun time quarantined together.

All right.

Tom Breen: [00:03:10] And so, uh, so online classes are going okay despite some early bumps in the road. That’s good to hear. Uh, Ken, what about you? How are you? How are you doing in the our, our new quarantined reality?

Ken Best: [00:03:18] Well, this is kind of a flashback to my existence before I came to UConn, when I was getting my master’s degree and freelancing for the New York Times and teaching part time. So, uh, sitting at my keyboard, looking out the window, getting outside to take a walk every once in a while. And uh, making sure that I get my work done is, is not a strange thing for me.

It’s just a little bit odd not seeing everybody in the office. Cause as I think most of you know, I tend to get up and walk around the building when I need to get away from the desk. And there’s, there’s, there’s no desks other than mine right now.

Tom Breen: [00:03:56] Uh, I would describe my quarantine experiences as, have you ever seen the movie the Shining?

Julie Bartucca: [00:04:03] Which part?

Tom Breen: [00:04:05] Uh, the kinda, the whole thing with the whole sweep of the Shining. I’m at the,

Julie Bartucca: [00:04:08] Do I need to take your typewriter away?

Tom Breen: [00:04:10] I’m at the point where I’m like walking into the ballroom in my house and having conversations with ghostly bartenders.

Ken Best: [00:04:17] There’s a ballroom in your house?

Tom Breen: [00:04:19] I mean, that could just be the, the, uh, the

Julie Bartucca: [00:04:20] It’s probably just the living room.

Tom Breen: [00:04:22] Yeah. Yeah.

Julie Bartucca: [00:04:23] Tom’s hallucinations have taken over.

Tom Breen: [00:04:25] But yeah, no, it’s fine. I mean, it’s, it’s still early days and none of us really know how this is going to shake out. So, uh, trying to make the best of it, trying to go for walks every day, get some fresh air and sunshine. You know, normally we do Husky headlines, they’re all about coronavirus.

Uh, so I would urge you to go to today.uconn.edu and, and follow along. There’s lots of updates. One was just posted. Uh, this afternoon, UConn is going to be providing refunds for unused housing and dining plans. Which is something a lot of universities are doing because obviously our students can’t use their meal plans.

And if they’re not living in their residence halls, they’re not, um, they’re not getting what they paid for. So we’re going to be refunding that. And also a, more importantly, if you can help out, there’s a story on UConn Today. UConn Health, our colleagues who are, uh, very much on the front line of this. They are seeking donations of personal protective equipment.

Uh, like a lot of doctors and hospitals around the U.S. There’s a shortage of that. They are looking for: N-95 respirator face masks, disposable face masks, face shields and goggles, disinfecting wipes and liquids and general purpose hand cleaners. And if you don’t have any of that, like if you haven’t been hoarding face masks, there’s other ways you can help out too, including making donations or buying,  gift certificates at local restaurants who have been donating food to the doctors and nurses at UConn health.

So there’s lots of ways you can help if you want, head on over to today.uconn.edu to look into that if you’re so inclined. It’s probably going to get a lot worse there for those folks. So anything you could do is greatly appreciated.

Julie Bartucca: [00:05:52] We thank them. They’re all amazing. All the people on the front lines.

Tom Breen: [00:05:56] So, you know, everyone’s talking about the ‘rona, the coronavirus, the COVID. Uh, but you know, life goes on. We have other things happening at the university. We are still doing the work of teaching and research, albeit remotely in most cases. And, uh, Ken, you’ve got some life goes on UConn story for us right.

Ken Best: [00:06:15] Uh, yes. You may recall if you’re a faithful listener, which we hope that you are, that last spring, professor Janet Pritchard, who’s a photography professor here at UConn, received that Guggenheim fellowship to support her current project titled More Than A River, the Connecticut river watershed, uh, where she is taking photos with the Connecticut river landscape as what she sees is a complex set of interconnected systems where the present bumps up against the past and very telling ways.

Her work is part of prestigious permanent collections in venues across the country, and actually, uh, overseas as well. Including the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Yellowstone national park museum, which was the subject of a soon to be published book a Yellowstone and American love story.

Published by George F. Thompson publishing in association with the American land publishing project. Professor Pritchard started taking photos as a youngster in New Jersey and helped to start a camera club in her school while also spending most of her time outdoors walking through the woods and playing sports.

She left college for a little while before heading back to become a professor and a photographer. She arrived at UConn in 2001 she and I spoke about her work and her approach to photography and specifically also about these new Connecticut river projects.

Janet Pritchard: [00:07:40] I started photographing before I even remember, before the Instamatics that were around the house kind of planning. But I didn’t really start what I think of as more of a serious pursuit of photography until I was 13.

I went to camp in Wyoming, in the Jackson area. One of the counselors had a 35 millimeter SLR, a pentax spotmatic. Very famous camera in the camera world. It’s like many people’s first camera in those days. And he let me look through it. We were on a rafting trip on the snake river under the shadow of the G,rand Teton, and I just fell in love.

So when I got home later that summer. It was the start of eighth grade, and I told my mother about the experience and she said, well, I just so happened to have a camera that had belonged to your father. My biological father died when I was very young, and she said he loved photography. And she gave it to me and it was a completely manual rangefinder, a context actually as ice contacts.

It’s a beautiful little German, made very simple camera that you had to know what you were doing to get anything from it, which I didn’t. So then I went to the local camera store and chatted with the guys and got a book and started reading and learning and playing and trying. And that year at school, we had a new Spanish teacher who loved photography himself. So a few of us got together with him and started a club and we commandeered a closet, which became our first dark room and took off from there.

Ken Best: [00:09:17] On your website, you have the four major projects that you have worked on in recent years. They’re all landscape dwelling expressions of time, like a whisper time on the land. Yellowstone in American love story, which is a book that’s going to come out. Uh, in another year and a half or so?

Janet Pritchard: [00:09:37] Uh, hopefully a little bit less than that, but yes, it’s in process.

Ken Best: [00:09:40] And the current project, which you’re Guggenheim time is being devoted to, the Connecticut river watershed more than her or river. These are all very different projects from the sense of space and what you’re looking at. Uh, how do you make a decision and what you’re going to be focusing on for such a concentrated period of time to tell the story that you think needs to be told.

Janet Pritchard: [00:10:05] The projects all look different, but I think underneath the sort of the bones of the way I think about making photographs and putting them together as projects is ongoing and evolving some. They’re all based in history. History of landscapes, history of places, history of interactions between people and physical terrain, which is why when I introduce myself and, and say that I’m a landscape photographer, I borrow a very simple direct definition from Barry Lopez, which is that landscape photography is the intersection of nature and culture.

When I look at the land, I’m interested in it from how it was formed. Physically, geologically, I know a little bit about geology, not a lot. I look at how it’s been used over time by different groups of people. The economics of it, the, the resource issues of it, the personal issues of lives lived there, and the emphasis on those different things changes a little bit in each of the projects, but it’s always there.

So for example, dwelling expressions of time, which chronologically, is the first project that’s on my website cause it’s, it starts early on from when I got here to start teaching at UConn. One of the things that I noticed is that when I was walking through the woods, I expected to find a landscape that was very much like the woods of my childhood in New Jersey. I grew up in the central part of the state, which is the very tail end of the glaciation. And so there’s, there are similarities, you know, it’s hardwood forest. There’s evidence of glacial past and so on. So I was expecting it to be fairly similar. What I found when I started walking through the woods was a lot more evidence of, in particular, 19th century and maybe even back to the mid 18th century usage by people.

For example, one really obvious thing is small dams. Creating spaces for water, harvesting, water power. And that’s what caught my attention. So that’s what I was trying to photograph, was this experience of mine, of walking through the woods and having a collision of time. The past and the present, both being present. Which is why I used a Faulkner quote in writing about that work, which is about the past, not even really being past.

Ken Best: [00:12:36] The Connecticut river project that you’re currently doing is a departure in a sense, because as you say on your site, you’ve been taking photos of landscapes for three decades, but a river project is not something that you’ve done previously, at least not on this scale.

Janet Pritchard: [00:12:57] Definitely not on this scale.

And my awareness and interest of watersheds is longstanding. I have a very clear recollection of being a child and riding in the car with my father, and we very much bonded over landscapes and various ways. Riding by a sign in some woods that identified it as part of a particular watershed, and he told me what a watershed was and concept.

That was a conceptual shift for me. To think about a landscape in that sense. So I’ve been aware of them and thinking about them for many years, and I’ve photographed rivers in a small way, but this project is somewhat of a departure. When we moved here in 2001 I had a pretty early experience in a pretty clear sense of the river as dividing the state.

Economically, socially, um, historically. And so I did do a little bit of reading about that. Not too long after we moved here, John McFees’ book, and he’s, his writing has influenced me a great deal over the years. I think of him as one of my heroes in many ways.

Ken Best: [00:13:58] The legendary New Yorker writer, I think still at Princeton.

Janet Pritchard: [00:14:03] He’s been there as whole life. And his writing is, has always fascinated me. I’ve read many of his books, but right about that same time, not too long afterwards, his book, the Founding Fish came out, which is all about the shad. And he writes about the Delaware and the Connecticut. And um, I had grown up around the Delaware. Those two landscapes for me, in some ways, the landscape of my childhood and the landscape of a different time in my life. And so I was very interested in the river and it was in the back of my mind for a long time, but I got snagged by the dwelling project and I worked on that for quite awhile.

And then I thought I’d do the river, but then I got snagged by the Yellowstone project and going since then. One of the things that I do when I do these bigger projects, as I sort of lean on this quote that I found a number of years ago, actually in an essay written by Michael Poland on the history of gardens, cause I spent a long time with gardens, which comes out of my dissertation work from graduate school.

It’s  from an 11th century Japanese garden manual. Titled S occer Taiki and the quote is, begin by considering the lay of the land in the water. Consider the works of past masters, recall the places of beauty that you have known, and then make into your own that which moves you most. I really think of that as sort of three phases which I emulate in the structures of my bigger projects, which is to begin by considering the lay of the land and the water, which is going out and seeing it.

And talking to people and looking at things and, and reading a little bit, but more. It’s about being there. I don’t want to be a tourist. I’ll never be a local, but I don’t want to be a tourist. I need to be somewhere in between. I also, in these big projects, it, any one of these projects could be a career path.

I don’t want to do that either. And I don’t want it to be an encyclopedia. So I have to find points of emphasis so that it can have some depth. But I also want it to have some breadth. So the trick is to find a way to balance those two.

Ken Best: [00:16:03] It’s been said that the Connecticut river is, uh, considered the heart of new England, the cradle of new England culture.

And in what you’ve posted to date that I saw, you’ve got. Uh, pretty much a travelog of new England. You’ve got Frank the welder in Vermont, the Barrett fishway in Holyoke, Massachusetts. You’re down under the founders’ bridge in, in Hartford. It’s a varied landscape. Uh, almost like a tour of the country visually as you come down from the North.

Janet Pritchard: [00:16:40] And I think that character will stay with it.

I don’t know how this work also is my intention is to go to a book. I feel really strongly that when you’re dealing with photography in the way that I do, it takes time for people to absorb it. It takes me years to make the work. I hope that at least takes minutes, maybe hours for people to absorb it. And with a book, I think these layers of interest. These layers of usage of the river, changing relationships to the river. All of these things can come out in a much deeper way than they can in an exhibition. So I do exhibits, but I never have a chance to exhibit an entire project. They’re too big. The Yellowstone book is over 200 pages. It’s a 186 photographs. That’s a lot.

Ken Best: [00:17:32] It’s also a lot of writing involved to describe what’s there.

Janet Pritchard: [00:17:36] There, yeah, there’s, there’s, yeah, it just, it all takes time and I’m not fast, you know, it all has to sort of soak in and my understanding of it has to become more sophisticated through experience and research.

Ken Best: [00:17:48] Receiving a Guggenheim fellowship is one of the most significant honors that an artist can receive because it recognizes your work throughout the years and says, you are a productive scholar and have a significant record of achievement. That’s a big thing to think about, but you’ve had a little bit more time since we spoke originally.

Now that you’ve thought about it a bit, what’d you feel about it?

Janet Pritchard: [00:18:17] It’s great to have the resources, but it’s also very satisfying to have the recognition, right? External validation is something that doesn’t happen often in the life of an artist in this country. I don’t know what it’s like in other countries.

I hear that Summit’s a little bit different. You know, what we do is not as tangible as what an engineer does, or a chemist maybe who’s involved in industrial work. And so it’s not as often that we get recognized as contributing to society in a larger way. So I like to think of it as a recognition, at least from a peer group, that I’m doing a good job.

Ken Best: [00:19:10] I have to say, talking with Janet Pritchard is always an interesting thing. She is curious. She’s creative and she’s always interesting to talk with. I think this is going to be a really good project once she gets completed with it and hopefully she’ll get another book, as she said.

Tom Breen: [00:19:27] Very cool. So yeah, lots of stuff is still happening at UConn. It’s not, it’s not just COVID all the time. Uh, although that kind of dominates our thoughts. Um. And that’s,

Julie Bartucca: [00:19:37] Gotta get your mind off it. Oh, go ahead. Go ahead!

Tom Breen: [00:19:40] That’s going to be one thing that is going to be a lot of fun on the new podcast going forward, because we’re all doing this via zoom. It’s gonna be one of crosstalk.

Julie Bartucca: [00:19:46] Interruptions! Sorry.

Tom Breen: [00:19:49] That’s all right.

Ken Best: [00:19:50] I thought we can see each other.

Julie Bartucca: [00:19:51] We can. We need to take better visual cues.

Tom Breen: [00:19:53] Except for Ken, who was like in the witness protection program His identity shielded from us. So one very unfortunate result of the, the pandemic is that there will be no commencement ceremonies, uh, this year. That’s a huge bummer. Maxine is a senior. Um, that’s, yeah, that’s gotta be disappointing.

What was your reaction when you heard that?

Maxine Philavong: [00:20:14] I think I knew it was coming.

Tom Breen: [00:20:15] Yeah.

Maxine Philavong: [00:20:16] All of the other colleges canceled the commencements. So it’s not like UConnof would be any different.

Tom Breen: [00:20:20] Yeah.


Maxine Philavong: [00:20:21] I was,  I was mentally preparing myself long before we got the news.

Julie Bartucca: [00:20:25] There are things in the works. There are things in the works to celebrate our graduating seniors, both virtually and hopefully in the fall in person, we will be honoring you as you deserve.

Tom Breen: [00:20:36] Some things, are in the works. But, um, interestingly, this was not the first time there had been no commencement ceremonies that UConn. I thought that maybe there were no commencement ceremonies in 1970 with the, uh, the wave of protest at universities in may that, uh, followed the Kent state shootings. Which Ken of brought up actually, uh, as one of the things that a lot of schools went to pass fail after that.

But no, you kind of had commencement 1970. However, as a, Maxine did some research and found out, I guess this is, this is more Maxine’s history corner than Tom’s history corner.

Maxine Philavong: [00:21:07] Did some sleuthing, as Tom would say.

Tom Breen: [00:21:10] Some sleuthing in the archives and found out that twice, uh, in our history at least twice. There were no commencement exercises in 1911 and 1914.

Um. And I have to say, I think, you know, it’s one thing to cancel because there’s a global pandemic that is a major threat to public health. Ah, the reasons for the cancellations in 1911, 1914 just seemed like a student’s gotta got screwed over.

Julie Bartucca: [00:21:33] Uh oh, what happened?

Ken Best: [00:21:35] I do seem to recall something going on between 1911 and 1914.

Tom Breen: [00:21:38] Well, this had nothing to do with, uh, with world affairs. This had to do in both cases with, uh, the university changed the curriculum midway through that added an additional year to the degree program. So in both 1911 and 1914, no one was eligible to graduate.

Julie Bartucca: [00:21:54] No!

Tom Breen: [00:21:56] Uh, Maxine found this in the, uh, June 1st, 1911 issue of The Lookout, which was the predecessor of the Daily Campus.

On account of the lengthening of the course of study. There will be no graduating class this year, and therefore no commencement day exercises. But in response to a request that an alumni day be arranged for in the belief that many of the alumni will welcome an opportunity again to spend a day at the college, the alumni officer’s arranged for Tuesday, June 13th is alumni day, and hereby invite your attendance at that time.

So they were telling the, uh, seniors who would now instantly become juniors. Hey, if you want to show up in June and hang out with them, I love some people who did graduate, you’re perfectly fine.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:28] That’s really upsetting for those students. And they had to not only not graduate, but have another year of school that they didn’t expect. Oh. What, what was, what were we called at that time where we,

Tom Breen: [00:22:39] That was Connecticut state. Oh, no. I think that was still Storrs’ Agricultural College.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:43] Okay. So we were like getting a little more academically rigorous and more breadth and depth to our programs. I’m guessing?

Tom Breen: [00:22:50] In fact, in 1914 Maxine notice that, uh, that was the first year that they required a high school diploma to attend UConn.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:57] So this is, this is pretty legit.

Tom Breen: [00:22:59] Yes. No, I mean, they probably did. The curriculum changes probably were necessary, but still, I mean, I dunno, I feel like if you. I dunno if I were those students, I’d still be a little upset, but again, they probably enjoyed it. You know, what else are they doing?

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:12] It was a very different time.

Tom Breen: [00:23:13] They get to go to Storrs and, uh, you know, uh, move rocks around whatever they did back then.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:19] They did. They did that a lot.

Tom Breen: [00:23:19] They did move rocks around, you know, they’d had a song about it.

Ken Best: [00:23:22] That was a requirement as I recall.

Tom Breen: [00:23:23] It was a requirement. Yeah. Along with like military drill and chapel, very different, uh, campus environment in those days.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:30] Yes, thankfully. Did you find anything out about their response to these changes?

Tom Breen: [00:23:37] Uh, Maxine did, I didn’t, I didn’t notice anything. Maxine, did you find anything?

Maxine Philavong: [00:23:40] Yeah, I couldn’t find anything. Even just finding like what actually changed in the archives, they didn’t really note anything. I found like the new course of study, but that’s like all I was able to find, which was a little strange. I feel like they’d be some editorial if they, if it happened now, they’d be like at least one editorial about it, but I feel like they didn’t mind all that much.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:01] Yeah. The, the paper was kind of a, you know, just a newsletter at that point. What kind of classes were part of the requirements? Do, do you remember?

Tom Breen: [00:24:09] Everyone has to take the same classes their first year, and it was things like English and a bunch of different math classes, a foreign language, a German or French sort of a, the, the liberal arts Patna as they say at MIT.

And then things got specialized depending on what your major was after that. So like your major was, I mean, you know, it was all, it was a, primarily an agricultural school back then. So there were, you know, there were classes on things like,  one was called like a principles of breeding, that kind of thing.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:37] Breeding animals, I hope. Yes.

Tom Breen: [00:24:41] Right. Breeding animals,

Ken Best: [00:24:43] Agricultural school.

Tom Breen: [00:24:45] And there was a, there was a home-ec, uh, track for students. So there were things like, uh, they’ll all have to take rhetoric though, which was interesting. And public speaking, which, I mean, that would be a good thing to teach people now.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:55] Sorry, class of 1911.

Tom Breen: [00:24:59] I know. If you’re out there and you were in the class of 1911.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:02] Hey, we went more than a hundred years without having to cancel commencement. That’s good.

Tom Breen: [00:25:08] I mean yeah, like a world war one, world war two, the Spanish flu, uh, the Vietnam era. We, you know, we held us together until there was a massive global pandemic.

Um, have you picked up any, uh, useful pandemic tips for the folks out there?

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:23] Useful pandemic tips?

Tom Breen: [00:25:25] What, how do you, how do you, uh, each of you, how do you measure 20 seconds when you’re washing your hands?

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:30] Uh, I’ve been doing the happy birthday twice thing most of the time. Yeah. That was, that was pretty easy go to, and sometimes I read something, a tweet that said something about like, whose name do you say when you sing happy birthday?

And for most people it was their own, but then I started to sing the, um, you’d look like a monkey and you smell like version. Just for my own, just for my own enjoyment.

Maxine Philavong: [00:25:56] I’ve been doing like the, uh, the steps online. So it’s like, you’re supposed to wash in between your hands and washing back your hands and like, do one hand, or one finger individually.

Um, and I feel like that gets me up to 20 seconds. I’m not quite sure. I’m not counting. But I feel like as long as I get every nook and cranny of my hand, it’s probably fine.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:16] As far as pandemic tips, quarantine tips, I want him to say after Ken’s piece, speaking about the arts, it’s awesome how so many musicians and artists are doing like live streaming performances from their houses and things like that for free.

And somebody had pointed out that like it just shows how important the arts are to our survival and our happiness. And someone should think about that next time they want to cut funding to the arts. And also exercise. You mentioned going outside of, and my dogs are so happy cause we’ve been taking a lot more walks, but there’s like a million free classes on YouTube right now.

I did a Zoomba class in this room last night and it was super fun. So there’s a lot of stuff to take advantage of because we’re all in the same boat.

Ken Best: [00:26:58] On the subject of the arts, the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry is doing some online creative things. A puppet workshop and a scene making workshop are taking place this week.

In fact, as we’re recording this, the puppet making workshop is going on and uh, on Friday, there’ll be another one. They’re going to continue it all the way through the semester. So if you’d go to the Ballard website, bimp.uconn.edu, you can find out more information.

Tom Breen: [00:27:26] That’s awesome. If, if a, if a bunch of like cool puppets comes with this pandemic, that won’t be the worst thing in the world.

Ken Best: [00:27:32] Well, uh, the, the thing is that they’re trying to keep it very simple for people who are stuck in the house and don’t have maybe a lot of supplies. It’s aimed a lot at families, of course, to occupy the kids. Cause I know from just speaking to my own family and some of our colleagues, the information going home from the schools is great, but everybody’s trying to become a teacher who’s not a teacher.

So it’s kinda interesting. Everybody’s adapting to this.

Maxine Philavong: [00:27:59] I’ve been tutoring some kids on the side during the pandemic and it’s really hard. One is five and the other is like three. They both have, well, the 3-year-old doesn’t really have like real assignments, but the 5-year-old has like a full day of assignments.

And just getting them to sit down for two seconds. It’s really difficult.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:21] So props to all the parents trying to do seven jobs at the same time.

Tom Breen: [00:28:26] Also to our teachers. I think, maybe this should make people realize we should pay teachers more.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:32] Lots of appreciation for a lot of things coming out of this experience.

Tom Breen: [00:28:37] Yeah.

Ken Best: [00:28:38] I’ve been watching the thread from one of the departments that I receive emails from all the time. They have a listserv that I’m on, so I can see what’s going on with the faculty, and there’s been a huge volume of cross conversation with everyone trying to help everyone else figure out how to do things, because although everyone’s fairly good at doing online things. Some of the things that they have to figure out is not instinctive. And so they’ve been doing workshops and if you look at the daily digest listings, there’s always something there for the last couple of weeks with the instructional faculty trying to assist their colleagues in making things more interesting and making things easier for them to do because they want to get through the end of the semester.

Tom Breen: [00:29:29] Yup.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:32] Yeah. Seriously. They’re probably very busy.

Tom Breen: [00:29:35] One of the few sectors of the economy that won’t be flattened like a pancake.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:40] Stay positive, Tom.

Tom Breen: [00:29:42] Right, no! Positive!

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:43] Our people are coming here for a respite. Not for, not for more of this saddness.

Tom Breen: [00:29:49] No, that’s right. Things are going to be okay. Everybody. We’re all going to pull together.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:54] Helping each other out is good.

Tom Breen: [00:29:56] Here at the overlook hotel, things are fine.

Julie Bartucca: [00:29:59] Has the blood started coming out of your elevator yet?

Tom Breen: [00:30:04] Yeah. Yeah. I keep seeing in these twins in the hallway. I don’t know what they are. They’re not paying rent, that’s for sure.

Julie Bartucca: [00:30:12] That seems like a good place to stop.

Tom Breen: [00:30:13] Yeah. Why don’t we, why don’t we wind this up? If you’re out there, you’re listening and you’ve made it this far.

If you have any pandemic tips or or observations from what you’ve been experiencing, why don’t you send them to us @UConnPodcast on Twitter? We’d love to hear it. We’ll, we’ll talk about them on our next, uh, episode in a fortnight. And a, that’s a good way to follow with generally @UConnPodcast. I’m taking a break from Twitter right now, but I’m @TJBreen.

If you want to follow me. And UConn today, keep, uh, seriously, there’s a lot of interesting stuff, not just that applies to a UConn folks, but generally there’s articles about, you know, managing stress. Uh, there’s articles about health insurance and coronavirus. There’s articles about, um, immigration and coronaviruses a lot of interesting stuff going up so.

Today.Uconn.edu um, Maxine, is there anything you want the good people of listener land to know?

Maxine Philavong: [00:30:59] This is probably the best time to take a break from Twitter because it’s really sad on there. Um, but you can follow me @MaxinePhilavong. Um, and I don’t have anything else for people to know because my internship at WPR has ended anyways.

Julie Bartucca: [00:31:14] Oh, you get to work with us more.

Tom Breen: [00:31:15] That’s right. Julie, what about you?

Julie Bartucca: [00:31:17] I’m @JulieBartucca. Not a lot going on there. Yeah, stay positive everybody.

Stay positive.

Tom Breen: [00:31:22] Ken, what about you?

Ken Best: [00:31:23] Well, I’m busy working on things so that, uh, Mr.Breen has some postings that are not Corona related on UConn Today. WHUS has been pretty much on, on remote control, but, uh, they promise that there’s going to be a way we can contribute our shows and they can get it on the air.

So hopefully that will happen soon. And I can go back to doing some music that will be on the. WSUS sound alternative channel 91.7

Tom Breen: [00:31:53] All right, everybody, thanks. Stay positive, like Julie said, and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll see you next time.

All right. We all ready?

Ken Best: [00:32:10] Yup,

Maxine Philavong: [00:32:12] I’m good.

Julie Bartucca: [00:32:14] Oh god!

Maxine Philavong: [00:32:14] I don’t have corona! It’s not the ‘rona.