The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our inability to support those who support others.
The failure of our institutions to support our most vulnerable workers has profoundly harmed so many members of our community. As the pandemic wanes and the rebuilding begins, we must do better for the caregivers among us.
Join the VFC as we document the conditions of caregivers on campus, and take action to fight for a better future.
Caregivers are people who have at-home care responsibilities: for children, for parents, for siblings, for partners, for other loved ones. With the collapse of external caregiving resources, like schools, elder-care facilities, and offices, many of us are being asked to shoulder an impossible burden: full-time care and full-time work.
This project focuses on the students and staff who are serving as caregivers while working on college campuses, from TAs to tenured professors, librarians, adjunct instructors, and administrative staff. We already know that caregiving during the pandemic is harming the emotional, physical, and financial well-being of our community. Because caregiving responsibilities disproportionately fall on women and people of color, we also know that this harm is inequitably distributed. We have an obligation to respond.
Since October of 2020, the Visionary Futures Collective has been inviting campus workers around the world to share their experiences working from home while caring for parents, children, and other loved ones. So far, we have received over 300 responses from caregivers at universities who shared details about the kinds of financial, logistical, and communicative support they are receiving from their institutions.
What we learned is that campus workers overwhelmingly feel abandoned.
Interested in the data? View our public spreadsheet here.
The information published on this website was collected through a public google form that was first made available in October of 2020. The questions were modified once, in November. The information shown here represents the merging of the two forms.
The information shown here was last updated on February 18, 2021. It represents 311 respondents from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Of these respondents, 15% are caring for more than two people. 33% are caring for adults 18 or over. 5% are students, 10% are contingent or precarious, and 85% have some job security. 70% of respondents are faculty or other instructional staff.
Over 300 campus caregivers answered our question: how do you feel your institution is supporting you? This map shows the percentage of respondents from each state that reported feeling "abandoned" by their institutions. White indicates no response; blue indicates a high level of support; and red indicates little or no support at all.
Over 150 respondents provided information about their level of job security, which allows us to identify caregiver feelings in relation to their position on campus. While this chart makes it clear that students are struggling, it also shows that people in all positions are struggling, too.
The Visionary Futures Collective has put together a collection of advocacy resources that you can use to improve support for caregivers on your campus. The activities, data points, and testimonies below all draw on more than 300 responses to our Caregivers Survey.
Not sure where to start? Our public spreadsheet lists seventeen ways that institutions can take action to support caregivers.
The grid below contains nine strategies you can use to support change on your campus, organized loosely around three approaches to creating change: Shared Vulnerability, Radical Transparency, and Collective Action.
Each strategy is accompanied by a testimony submitted by campus workers. You can view the text of the sound clips here.