President's Corner ‑ December 4, 2020

- December 4, 2020

President Deep Saini (Danny Abriel photo)
President Deep Saini (Danny Abriel photo)

President's Corner is a regular column from President Deep Saini.

Dear Dal Community,

The past couple of weeks have served as yet another reminder of just how quickly things can change.

We all, of course, have remained aware of and impacted by the pandemic over the course of the summer and fall — especially with an eye towards friends, colleagues and family members living in other parts of North America and the world where case numbers have been much higher. However, the recent uptick in cases here in Nova Scotia and the corresponding tightening of restrictions have — for many of us — intensified the challenges we were already facing.

While I firmly believe that, if we are to emerge from this stronger, we must remain forward focused, I also know that these recent developments have added to the stress and fatigue so many were already feeling. As we near a time when many would normally travel and celebrate with family and envision what changes the new year might bring, I know the events of 2020 are weighing heavily on all of us. With the end of the semester in sight, it is more important than ever that we take the time to pause, rest, reflect, and look out for one another — even if it must happen virtually.

In the spirit of finding the balance between looking ahead with optimism and acknowledging the distance that still exists between now and our old sense of “normal,” I am making some changes to my own routine. Specifically, I want to replicate the informal interactions and conversations that we are missing right now. In the absence of the opportunity to bump into you in the hallway, I am inviting anyone who wants to connect for an informal conversation to contact my office to set up a “virtual coffee.” If you or your team wants to schedule a virtual coffee with me, please email This is one small way that we can continue to get to know one another during this strange time, and I look forward to the conversations that lie ahead.  

Despite the difficulties we are facing, I have been moved by the kindness and generosity of the Dalhousie community, which two fundraising milestones reached this week illustrate aptly. First, Dalhousie’s active United Way campaign for Halifax concluded on Monday (Truro’s continues until Dec. 10). While there’s still time to donate, and the total will not be final until the 50/50 draw later this month, we have already exceeded our goal and raised more than $110,000. In addition, this past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday, with this year’s campaign focused on student food security. Our goal was to raise $40,000, and I am thrilled to report that together we raised more than $67,000, including a generous $20,000 in matching funds from the J & W Murphy Foundation. The Food Security Project is accepting donations until the end of December.  

The success of these two campaigns was only possible because of the collective action of our Dalhousie family, and it highlights our continued compassion, resilience, and community-centeredness, even as we each face our own unique challenges. So, my shout-out this week goes to all who are working so hard to give back to their communities right now – whatever that looks like for you.

Until next time, stay safe, take care of yourselves, and I hope to see you for a virtual coffee.



President Saini can be reached at You can also connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.