“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Physicist Marie Curie
Dear International House Alumni and Community,
Like the rest of the world International House Brisbane (IH) continues to navigate the ever evolving situation that is COVID-19. Our top priority is the health and well-being of our residents and staff.
It was with heavy heart that we (the IH Board) made the decision to close the catered towers (A-I) of International House for the remainder of this Semester effective Thursday 9th April 2020.
The ever changing nature of COVID-19 and the directives and restrictions being implemented for our well-being by the health and government authorities has made it impossible to care for our community members as we need and want to do. Social distancing, for example, is one of the most effective means of flattening the curve and preventing the spread of the virus. To implement within a college in our communal environment is impossible.
All members of our community are well intentioned and have been brilliant in doing what has been asked of them, but it is not sustainable for the long term. Restrictions on social gatherings, the life-blood of a college, are no longer possible.
With all courses on-line and the near closure of the campus, there is little more for our residents to do other than remain in their room. Even our eating arrangements, now takeaway, have changed and will continue to change. All of these directives with more to come have huge implications for residents, our staff, and for our catering and cleaning operations and facilities management. There is a limit to how agile and nimble we can be to keep the college open.
We will be keeping J and K Towers operational with reduced services. These apartments have en-suited bedrooms and a separate dining/kitchen and lounge area for 3-4 residents.
Many of our 2020 cohort have already been recalled to their homelands following their own government or academic institutional advice. Undergraduate residents who cannot return abroad have been given a list of pre-approved accommodation providors near UQ. Some have been moved to our J/K Towers.
IH is also ensuring the mental health of residents and staff is foremost. We are mindful that these are uncertain times and can create mixed emotions or feelings of anxiety.
To this end, IH staff together with our senior resident leadship have taken several actions to support our community:
- Virtual hangouts, interactive games, and other creative activities are being offered by our staff and our SRs (with social distancing guidelines in mind)
- WhatsApp groups and Facebook live sessions have been created for residents who remain not only here at IH but also to include those who have returned abroad so that all Housies may draw on the vast, global IH network.
- 2020 IHSC execs and SRs are committed to an online presence aimed at fostering the new friendships made this year online.
This is not the first time IH has been challenged by extreme external forces.
The 1974 and 2011 floods devasted Brisbane and swamped our IH facilities but as the murky flood waters subsided IH’s restoration campaign and mammoth rebuilding efforts rose with steel resolve and our IH community emerged even stronger. Now, together, as we face this latest health threat, the bonds between ‘Aussie’ and International Housies endure, they remain unbreakable and friendships continue to grow even if distance sets us apart.
IH Brisbane appreciates the loyalty and support from our alumni. We are thinking of you and all our IH community around the world, especially in those countries where the COVID-19 threat looms large.
The IHWW mission is to encourage life-long connections between a highly diverse international community. While we all look forward to the end of this uncertainty, our aims to foster enduring global friendships and a robust Housie support network have never been more important. We are all looking towards a post COVID-19 time. We shall continue to stay in touch.