President Krise: Make an impact in isolation
Last week, our community showed how we can come together to accomplish something great, even when we’re in the Great Lockdown. The UOG Livestream Telethon for COVID-19 Relief had an initial goal of raising $20,000 to support our front-line health care workers and volunteers. By the end of the livestream, we had raised more $43,000 in donations and had shared helpful expertise and inspiring entertainment along the way. I’m so grateful for all who contributed their funds, time, and talents.
The telethon represented an important point. In a situation in which it’s instinctive to panic and self-preserve, we can be proactive and not only ease our own anxieties, but have a much more productive outcome for the community overall.
As we continue on in another week in this new reality, I would urge us all to find ways to think bigger than ourselves, to equip not just ourselves for a limited time, but the community for the duration of this pandemic. Here are some ways we can do that.
Perhaps the biggest way we can help one another in this time is to leave the sensationalism to the Tiger Kings of the internet and look to reputable sources for information and, more importantly, to verify information before sharing it.
In academia, we teach students in their research how to determine the credibility of a source. Does the author have the credentials and authority to speak on the topic? Do they cite where they’re getting their information, and is that source credible? Is the argument one-sided in an effort to market, sell, or persuade rather than inform? If you’re not sure, it’s safer not to share what could be inaccurate information.
One of the beautiful things about our island community is that it’s full of so many different talents, interests, capabilities, and areas of expertise. Take a moment to think about your skills, your resources, your connections and how they could address a need in the community.
Maybe you can tutor a child over Facetime or Skype or put on a virtual concert from your front porch or living room. Maybe you can check in from a safe distance with elderly neighbors or people living alone to see how they’re doing. Some of the things our UOG staff members have come up with are making and delivering meals to public health centers around the island, producing hand sanitizer, and using 3D printers to make face shields for personal protective equipment (PPE) for Guam’s effort to give our local health care workers the protective armor they need.
Use this downtime to brainstorm ways you can help from where you are, with what you have. Even something small can have a big impact by inspiring a continuous cycle of generosity, innovation, and hope.
Staying home and isolated is difficult. Most of us thrive with interaction and engagement with others. But it’s important to remember that the recommendations of the CDC and WHO are based on the research of epidemiologists and people whose job it is to study the transmission of viruses. Their knowledge on the virus is still expanding, but to not heed advice based on what we do know would be a tragic mistake. As members of our great island community and of the broader global community, we must act responsibly, respect one another, and work together against our common enemy.