Virtual Cabrini Day: celebrating human resilience during the pandemic

By Megan Fee
November 9, 2020

This year’s Cabrini Day theme is COVID-19 and Human Dignity. Photo graphic by Cabriniuday Instagram.

Cabrini will be hosting their annual Cabrini Day celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 10 in a mix of hyflex and virtual modalities. 

This year, the School of Business, Arts and Media is responsible for the planning of Cabrini Day.  It will be lead by co-chairs Nick Jacques and Dr. Nune Grigoryan. Student research presentations will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. through online streaming via Blackboard Collaborate. The Keynote address will take place in hyflex modality in Grace Hall and will also be live streamed from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Cabrini Day is the annual celebration of the university’s heritage and mission of social justice in honor of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini. The theme is COVID-19 and Human Dignity. The main focus will be to recognize the hardships students have faced in the wake of COVID-19, as well as other prominent social justice issues that have shaped 2020 such as human trafficking, poverty and racial issues.         

“We wanted to highlight the experiences of our students during this year, how they have been impacted by COVID-19, how that has changed their life in one way or another and kind of address the more larger picture, meaning that what kind of economic, political and social changes that has brought into society,” Dr. Nune Grigoryan, co-chair of the Cabrini Day planning committee, said.

Grigoryan explained that this year’s theme was suggested to them from last year’s committee, but the theme of COVID-19 was added in as it had a major impact for everyone this year.

“COVID-19 had such an impact in 2020 that we could not ignore that, and that had to be addressed,” Grigoryan said.

“We saw that human dignity could be that healing point,” Grigoryan added. “So COVID-19 of the theme is highlighting the problems and challenges, but human dignity is highlighting the solutions that we want to show as a community.”

As a result of COVID-19, Grigoryan explained that this Cabrini Day will be very different from others and that two of the biggest changes involve student presentations and the keynote address.

Cabrini Day social media platforms will be posting updates throughout the day. Screenshot by Megan Fee.

Student presentations

Unlike other Cabrini Days, where students were given off from class until the afternoon to attend the event, this year will continue on a normal class day schedule. For those who can not attend the event, all presentations will be recorded and stored on a website to view later.

Each presentation will be 10 to 15 minutes and there will be a few minutes spared to ask questions after the presentation.  All presentations will be spaced out between five minutes to log out and go into other presentations, so those that are attending have the opportunity to see other presentations as well.

According to Grigoryan, every community member will receive an email with a list of presentations, their times and a link to join.

Keynote Address

One of the other major changes this year involves the keynote address.

The main focus of this year’s keynote address will be to learn about the impact of the pandemic from personal experiences and the struggles it created.

According to Grigoryan, the keynote speaker would usually be a distinguished person, or expert in “some field related to the topic or theme of the year.” 

Instead, the keynote address will be done by a panel of student speakers: Amanda Lynn, Kayla Hunt, Ryan Calderaro and Shaiann Lyde, who will each share their stories and discuss their own personal struggles as a result of the pandemic.

“This year we thought that because of Covid, our students have had so many experiences that were unusual and that need to be spoken about,” Grigoryan said.

Grigoryan explained that they will discuss topics around “how they have been affected, how their families have been affected and what kind of things we can do as a community to help each other.”


Grigoryan hopes that students and faculty connect with the spirit of the day as it is an opportunity to showcase and embrace our academic excellence, leadership values, community and resilience.

Megan Fee

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