A Thank You For Compassion in Rough Times

By Nick Anstett

Opinion Editor

Over the course of my time home I had to hear a lot of things about Washington College. Most were well meaning, but many were marked by confusion and misinformation. It is still hard to think of our small community nestled away on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as becoming the subject matter for articles and blurbs on the front pages of major news sites. It is strange to have coworkers that I have not spoken to in months confront me with supposed facts about the place that I have come to call my home for most of the past three years. It is easy in these rough times to give in to the frustration, anger, and sadness that comes with hearing these sorts of things, especially in the face of tragedy. There is an irony here in that for how truly sad and upsetting as the events of the last two weeks have been, I have never been more proud of the college community and its neighbors in Chestertown.

Adversity has a strange tendency to bring out some of the very best in people, and I experienced this time and time again over the course of this trying time. I find myself in the position of thanking those who reached out to care for and shelter those around in the WC community as well as ensur that this campus retain its identity in the face of danger and sadness. The following are a few individuals and organizations that I, personally, feel the need to acknowledge and thank.

Thank you President Sheila Bair for guiding the community during this time of hardship and providing a source of stability, foresight, and empathy. You guided WC through a time of fear, worry, and eventual heartbreak with the courage and responsibility that this campus needed.

Thank you to Director of Public Safety Jerry Roderick, Sheriff John F. Price, the Chestertown Police Department, and Washington College Public Safety for putting the safety of WC students, staff, and faculty above all else. Even in the moments of most heightened confusion and fear, never once did I feel unsafe on campus. This is due to your caution, efforts, and sacrifices made in safeguarding the lives here in Chestertown and abroad.

Thank you to the Washington College Dining Services staff who risked potential harm to themselves to provide meals to students. Your sacrifice to provide services to students in a time of uncertainty allowed for some form of normalcy and respite.

Thank you to Counseling Services, who provided assistance and care to students in need even during the earliest days of this incident. Your work and compassion never  truly reaches an end and will be just as important in the coming weeks as it was at the start. WC would not be able to function without you and we greatly appreciate the efforts you have and will continue to provide.

Thank you to the faculty of WC. I cannot begin to express the incredible support that I have exprienced from the professors and teaching staff at this college. Many professors went above and beyond expectations in not only providing understanding and lenient changes not only to schedules but in their efforts outside of the classroom as well. Many opened their doors and provided homes to  students in need of shelter Some provided a sense of normalcy and distraction through online classes via the break  and others gave their students some form of levity through creative video messages or lectures. It is a testament to the community as a whole to have an on campus faculty that is openly concerned, caring, and supportive of its students in a time of need.

Thank you to Christ United Mehtodist Church, who was among one of the first organizations in Chestertown to open its doors to house students looking for a place to stay. Your example of altruism is a testament to the important role that faith has for a community.

Thank you to the Chestertown community as a whole, who helped guide and protect members of WC in their time of need. Your sacrifices are innumerable and cannot begin to be expressed in such a short form.

Thank you to the students. If there is one thing about WC that feels constant, it is the sense of love and genuine friendship between its students. Whether it was providing comfort, rides, support, or housing to fellow students, I personally witnessed dozens of moments  that should make any college proud.

Finally, thank you to the parents of Jacob Marberger. Your decision to alert WC in the face of potential danger is not to be taken lightly. Your courage and love has been a source of inspiration for myself and many other members of WC. We all grieve for your loss and express our deepest condolences to you and the rest of Jacob’s family. Thank you for raising Jacob and being the sort of parents we all aspire to be.

I do not represent the entirety of the WC community and do not pretend to do so. There are countless people who made sacrifices large and small for the students, staff, and faculty of this college. Every day of our time here at for the rest of semester and beyond is an expression of gratitude and support to them. If you have a specific thank you to express via The Elm, whether it be in a print issue next semseter or online, do not hesitate to contact myself at nanstett2@washcoll.edu or Editor-In-Chief Emma Way at eway2@washcoll.edu

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