President's Message, April 15, 2020
Håfa Adai, Tritons!
Patty and I hope that you had a happy Easter and that you have been doing well in spite of the quarantine. I have been doing my best to stay home as much as possible, and I have been thinking about the well-being of our UOG students and our employees.
Staying home and isolated is difficult. Most of us thrive with interaction and engagement with others. Still, staying at home and reducing our interactions are keys to combating the coronavirus.
I recognize that our employees who have to work from home may find it difficult and draining. And that some of our employees have been asked to work on campus or at the Triton Farm or in the field to ensure that University operations continue. I applaud and appreciate your commitment to our University, whether you’ve figuring out how to work from home or doing field work with proper social distancing and protective measures.
Last week, our UOG community showed how we can come together to accomplish something great, even when we’re isolated. The UOG Livestream Telethon had an initial goal of raising $20,000 to support our font-line healthcare workers and volunteers. By the end of the livestream, we had raised the goal to $30K and finally to $40K — finishing the night with over $43,000 in donations! We are so grateful for the all who contributed their funds, time, and talents.
We have just completed our first week of the new online class formats. It has been an important and sometimes difficult transition for both faculty and our students. But I want to assure you we are committed to successfully completing this semester.
You may have also heard the excellent news that the federal CARES Act will provide $4.5 million that will benefit students. About $2.3 million of it will be reserved to help UOG students cover expenses related to the disruption of their education due to the coronavirus. Details on the program and how funds will be allocated and disbursed will be released very soon.
I am so proud of the way our Tritons have been contributing to relief efforts. Our School of Health faculty and staff and other campus health professionals like the Isa Psychological Services Center have been activated and are working directly in support of the island’s response to the coronavirus. Many of our staff and administrators have been ensuring much-needed supplies and personal protective equipment are provided to frontline personnel. This includes the coordination of the preparation and delivery of over 4,300 meals to health centers since mid-March. This includes partnering with “PPE for Guam” to use 3D printers to make hundreds of face shields. This includes the purchase of masks and other supplies in direct support of GMHA and DPHSS. This includes the mass production of hand sanitizer by our natural and applied sciences faculty and staff. And this includes the great work of our faculty, IT personnel, and others to ensure that we can move all of our courses to an online format. We Tritons have been engaged, involved, and determined to do our part to contribute to our island during this challenging time.
As we enter another week in this new reality, let’s think of others by staying at home as much as possible. Let’s find ways to be creative and productive. Let’s reach out to each other and stay connected. And as we work to finish this semester, let’s keep in mind our mission of Ina, Deskubre, Setbe.