Virtual Fulbright Chicago Happy Hour, April, 2020

FOLLOWING THE SOCIAL distancing guidelines and our mission to serve the Fulbright community, the Chicago Chapter organized a Happy Hour that took place on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

Using the current virtual technologies, Zoom came to the rescue and for 90 minutes, 30 participants, that included alumni, students, scholars and board members of the Fulbright association shared stories and talked about different topics at this time of global isolation.

Among the strongest topics in this online exchange were the current situation of the Fulbright program (after it was suspended) and state of newly returned Fulbright Scholars.

Our special guest, John Bader, Executive Director of the Fulbright Association in Washington D.C., addressed the concerns of Fulbrighters and brought hope for the continuation of the Fulbright Program. The Chapter members had the opportunity to address their questions directly to the Director and got firsthand responses.

The discussion continued with topics ranging from mental health during isolation and medical insurance coverage to daily activities of Chapter members. The participants shared stories of their daily lives and how they have coped with the current state of the nation, and also appreciated being able to share and discuss the social aspects which are getting them through these times. The recently published COVID-19 Resource Guide that the Chicago Chapter board produced as an informational support for the local Fulbright community was a great resource which the Fulbrighters used for guidance and actionable information.

“The COVID-19 Resources and Guidelines played an integral role in providing accessible information to our Chapter, but also brought about a way to personally connect and communicate with our Chapter members,” said Dr. Edel Marie Jose, Chicago Chapter president.

There was also conversation about the survey’s results that the association put together to gather information on how to serve our community better.

The attendees are looking forward to another “social” Happy Hour to further discuss life in general among fellow Fulbrighters and enjoy live music performed by their colleagues.

The board is currently reviewing the scheduling and programming of upcoming events to adjust them to the current situation. We hope that soon we will return to our usual “normal” one way or another, to continue fulfilling our mission, face to face. In the interim, however, we all remain connected.