Kinesiology students used funds raised for their graduation banquet to give back to the community. (Photo: Saskatoon Friendship Inn)

USask unites: Kinesiology graduates donate banquet funds for the better good

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were announced in the province, members of the USask community have come together to support one another in these uncertain times.

Extraordinary circumstances have brought out extraordinary responses from members of our USask community. From frontline health-care workers to researchers looking for a solution to this global health threat, there are so many stories about people are working to make our home communities safer and healthy. Here are a few of the inspiring stories of our students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Kinesiology students host one of many bake sales to help raise funds for their graduation banquet. (Photo: Submitted)

Each year the graduating class hosts multiple fundraisers to help offset the costs of their annual graduation banquet. This year started off no different until March 2020.

Like others, the kinesiology graduating class of 2020 had to make the tough, but right decision, to cancel their graduation banquet. The banquet was originally planned for June 4, the same day 140 graduates were expected to cross the stage and receive their parchments at Merlis Belsher Place.

“We had multiple bake sales and a poinsettia sale, but unfortunately, we couldn’t hold any more events as the university switched to remote learning,” said Omar Banun, fourth-year student and a member of the kinesiology grad committee.

Although disappointed, the graduation class saw an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of others during these difficult times.

“Yes, we are disappointed, but there are other people who are facing a far greater adversity than a banquet cancellation and the committee was adamant on helping others during the crisis.” 

They chose to split their raised funds of $1,100, between two organizations who they felt could use the help. The committee felt that the Saskatoon Friendship Inn was a great organization to support as they continue to provide meals for those who need it year-round and even more so, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee also wanted to give back to something close to their kinesiology roots and embed physical literacy into as many children as possible. They have reached out to Pleasant Hill School in Saskatoon. The committee recognized that the surrounding community around the school has a lot of children who may not have access to equipment and facilities that would promote them to engage in physical activity for life. 

“It feels amazing to be a part of a group of people that all share a common empathy with those facing adversity in our community. I couldn't be prouder to share the stage with these fellow graduating students,” said Banun.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our community in one way or another, the graduating class of 2020 believes it is now more important than ever to support each other as best we can.

Share your stories with us: We are collecting the stories of resilience and good spirit from our USask community. Please send story ideas and photos to news@usask.ca.

As a community it is critical that we support each other and remain respectful during what is a difficult time for all of us. Please follow all guidelines and take all precautions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our community.

How you can help our students during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://alumni.usask.ca/news/2020/covid-19-how-you-can-help-our-students.php

For the latest developments and information about the University of Saskatchewan's response to COVID-19, please go to www.usask.ca/updates.

The University of Saskatchewan is undertaking critical research and contributing to global efforts to combat COVID-19. The University of Saskatchewan's Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO-InterVac) is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies to combat infectious diseases. Your support of the COVID-19 Research Fund supports the increased efforts of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan to develop vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Donate now.

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