USask unites: Staff and faculty move to support students during COVID-19

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.

Uncertainty and disruption left many USask students facing a number of overwhelming stressors due to the pandemic. But thanks to the outpouring of support from USask staff and faculty, students are able to access additional emergency financial assistance.

In an effort to further support students during COVID-19, USask staff and faculty were invited to reallocate unneeded funds from their Accountable Professional Expense Fund (APEF) or Department and Senior Administrator Expense (DSAE) account to emergency student grants or to a graduate employment initiative.

According to Trevor Batters, director, financial operations at USask, the call went out on May 8 and has since been a resounding success, with more than $240,000 (as of June 18) having been contributed by staff and faculty towards students. 

“The uptake on this process has been greater than anyone expected,” said Batters, who said that the contribution started from a simple request, and ballooned quickly over the next month.

“There was a question about whether staff and faculty could reallocate their professional development funds to support students in crisis. From that we set up this program working with ConnectionPoint to allow people to submit that request, have it approved by their supervisor, and then reallocate those funds to either emergency student grants or graduate student support funds.”

In light of the success of the process, Batters says that this option continues to be available for staff who still wish to support students during the pandemic. 

“This is helping to revitalize those resources for students who are in a crisis,” said Batters. “We’ve had a huge uptake from the campus community that will help ensure that our students can remain both financially and physically well during this global pandemic.”

For those wishing to contribute, this is a personal choice and will require your supervisor's approval. Contributions can be completed through the ConnectionPoint reallocation form. Please contact ConnectionPoint if you have additional questions about the program. Any contribution you can make at this point will be greatly appreciated and have a lasting impact on our students.

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.

Share this story