Trumbulletin 9-4-20

September 4, 2020

Welcome to our new 2024 Trumbullians.   Welcome back to Trumbull to our sophomores, juniors and seniors (or to “virtual” Trumbull which is still Trumbull). 

So much is so different.  Our first-year students are in the college proper; our sophomores are spread all over the world as are some students from all classes; our juniors are on Old Campus and off campus; our seniors are in Trumbull or off campus.  We’ve had to quarantine.  We’re all wearing masks. Our theater is a testing center.  Our dining hall has lots more plexiglass and many fewer tables. There was no “move in crew,” there was no family reception or picnic for our first years.  There are flags spaced six feet apart all over our courtyard.  Our food is in bags.

Yet we’re still Trumbull and we’re still a community.

I will host a first-year dinner (spaced out across days in the House backyard and entryway off Rose Walk).  We’ll have Mellon Forum for seniors.  We’ll have speakers – virtually. 

We will return to normal in time.

Mellon Forum:  If you are a senior and interested in participating in Mellon Forum but did not reply to the poll by noon today, please email Debbie (  This year it will be led by Professor Adam Sexton (who many of you know for his expert work as a writing tutor).  Dean Chandhoke and I will also participate.  It is, traditionally, a special part of senior year and, despite the current circumstances we aim to make it special this year as well.

First-year dinner/picnic:  First year students should watch their mail for a dinner invitation (by suite and pod) served in the backyard of the House and in the entrance way to the House (off Rose Walk).  You’ll select your date (and a rain date) from a number of possible dates.  The dinner tables will be widely spaced but your dinner will not be in a bag!

Ice cream.  I’ll continue to serve ice cream in the courtyard as long as it stays warm.

Sophomores and Juniors:  We won’t forget you!  You’ll get snacks too.

Labor Day Weekend.   You’ve finished your first week of classes.  I hope you’ve found a schedule that you like.    

This weekend and as our quarantine ends and the semester continues, continue to be very careful to follow the compact.  I know that it restricts us all.  Yet the pandemic is still with us. We do not want outbreaks here.  We do not want to see a repeat of the evacuation that occurred last spring.

Our community is a broad one.  Everyone is vulnerable to CoVID.   Yet some are more vulnerable than others.  The risks increase with age.  We have many custodians, dining hall, and grounds staff who fall in the high-risk category.  Moreover, many more of these people live with others who fall in the high-risk category.  In addition, those with underlying conditions are more vulnerable and while these are not visible they include many staff members and students. 

We all bear responsibility to be careful for the sake of our entire community.

Parties (gatherings of more than ten people) are not permitted. Masks are required when you are outside your suite.  Remember that drinking impedes good judgment.  (One party has already occurred.  It was stopped by a PHC on duty.  We’d rather not do this!)

As all but our first-years likely know, Trumbull’s motto is:  “Fortune favors the brave.”  I’m amending our motto a bit for this semester to be:  “Fortune favors the brave …..AND those who socially distance.”  Take risks with academics in the sense of trying something new.  Get to know new people who differ from you.  Speak up and ask for help in classes when you need it. But don’t take risks with health.

Mix ups in getting sophomore, junior and senior things back in your hands.    The evacuation last spring was hard.  Packing your things and shipping them and moving them between suites fell to a team outside of Trumbull that was put together by Summer Conferences and Events. Honestly, many problems happened because it was a big, big job which fell to a team that had to work quickly and could have used more person-power.  I hope that any problem you encountered has been resolved.  If not, however, let me know.  These things still are being taken care of by SC & E, but I am more than willing to advocate for you if problems remain.

Please suggest speakers to invite to Trumbull.  We will continue to have teas and talks even though, sadly, we can’t have them in the living room of the house.  We will do this virtually.  A plus is that we may be able to secure speakers who ordinarily would not come because they would have to travel to New Haven.  So, if there are people you’d like to have “virtually visit” let me know and I can invite them.  Just send suggestions to me via email (

Think broadly in this regard.  Some of you may have personal connections to people of interest. If you do, let me know. 

Getting exercise.  I am sorry that our gym in Trumbull is closed.  (All gyms in all residential college are closed).  Athletics and Payne Whitney gym are providing opportunities for exercise.  I’ll send out information on those.  I’m also glad to see (just by looking out my window) that people are using our courtyard for exercise.  That’s fine.  I will get some small weights for people to use.  Because of CoVID these should not be shared.  You will be able to “check them out” for the semester.  They will remain Trumbull’s property.   You’ll be asked to return them at Thanksgiving break.  (Please clean them regularly and prior to their return. We’ll sanitize them again ourselves before checking them out during the second semester.)