This week’s Gustie of the Week is faculty member Lynnea Eckhoff. Eckhoff is the Manager of Music Tours in Gustavus’ Fine Arts department, and is originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Eckhoff’s position as Manager of Music Tours entails picking out locations for Gustavus’ music ensembles and marketing work. Eckhoff works with the conductors to decide on the locations of performances and secures passports, lodging, transportation and food for the trips. In terms of marketing, Eckhoff promotes the concerts by making posters and providing information to places that the ensembles visit.
One thing Eckhoff loves about working at Gustavus is the community. She felt welcomed into the community immediately upon starting her role.
“I really like the community at Gustavus and I think that’s become very apparent during COVID because we’ve all had to step up in really […] strange ways […] even when I first came to Gustavus it was a very warm and welcoming community.”
Because of COVID-19, Eckhoff’s role has changed. While she is still working to plan a concert in a virtual format instead of a tour, Eckhoff has stepped up into the role of working in Case Management. In being a case manager, Eckhoff’s work has pivoted towards facilitating COVID-19 cases and discerning proper actions on a case-by-case basis.
“So anytime someone reports that they’re feeling sick or that they have been exposed to someone with COVID, or that they themselves have COVID that comes into our system […] I help facilitate that and figure out you know how long are you going to quarantine? […] Should you get tested if you’re going to stay on campus? Where are we going to put you?” Eckhoff said.
While working as a Case Manager is different from her original title, Eckhoff still sees some similarities in both roles. Both roles are student-centered and are driven by the importance of student experience.
In managing tours, Eckhoff looks to provide a memorable experience for the students because she knows how important it is as in college she was involved in tours. It is important especially now during the times of COVID-19.
“We did tours and I still remember those very vividly, so that’s important to them [the students] and also, just from the perspective of when we go [tour], we do reach prospective students and we do connect with our alumni. So like keeping all of those connections in a virtual format [due to COVID], is gonna be challenging,” Eckhoff said.
In COVID-19 case management, Eckhoff looks to provide a positive experience for students. Quarantine isn’t fun, and she wants to alleviate their worries by doing the best in properly communicating while maintaining a balance by looking at things from the perspective of a student.
“So thinking about […] how much communication they should get from their case manager. Well, if I’m a student, […] I want to feel like I’m plugged in. I want to feel like I have a kind of a lifeline that I can reach out to. But I also don’t want to be bothered every single day and bombarded, so what’s the balance there?” Eckhoff said.
The biggest difference between the two roles is the learning curve. In case management, the learning curve is steeper. Eckhoff has to understand and learn things from the medical side and collaborate with health workers. Because COVID-19 seems to be unending, there is not a set strategy to tackle the problems. When planning tours, Eckhoff knows what to expect from start to finish, but with COVID-19 everything seems to be unexpected.
“With COVID there is no end result, right? Like the end result is that everyone stays healthy. That’s the hope, but you know, it’s kind of like […] you’re running a race, and the finish line just keeps moving,” Eckhoff said.
With everything going on in the world because of COVID-19, Eckhoff imparts some comforting words.
“You have to give yourself and others just a little bit of grace because for the most part we’re all doing the best that we can and everybody reacts to stress differently,” Eckhoff said.