Spotlight: Polybag Insert by Harvard Divinity Bulletin

The accelerating COVID-19 outbreak in the Boston area led to a sudden and swift shutdown of the Harvard Divinity School (HDS) campus, just as we were entering the final “crunch” in the Bulletin’s editorial schedule. Thankfully, we were ahead of where we needed to be (a rare but wonderful place to be!), so we proceeded as planned while working from home.

However, we realized that our typical distribution plans were no longer possible. Normally, we distribute several boxes’ worth of each issue on campus, placing them directly into faculty mailboxes, bringing them to monthly all-staff meetings, and stacking them in well-trafficked student areas with signs that read, “Current Issue — Please Take One!”

Our team brainstormed and quickly developed a plan to send an issue to each student, professor, and staff member at home. Our managing editor, Faye Bodley-Dangelo, worked with the school’s mailing list coordinator to get an expanded address list to our printer.

We also felt that the difficult times called for a personal touch, so we decided to include a letter from Dean David Hempton polybagged with this segment of mailed issues. Our hope was that when this letter arrived with the issue, it would help the HDS community feel connected to the school at a time when there has been so much disruption and loss. It was worth the extra effort and cost to bring our campus community some familiar comfort along with some “quarantine reading material.”

Wendy McDowell, Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Harvard Divinity School