Apr 7th, 2020 @ 7:41 am | Author: Alan LaFave, D.M.A.
Greetings from Valley City State University!
One of the unique characteristics of Valley City and VCSU is the strong and robust town-and-gown relationship that exists between the community and university. I believe this is largely the result of mutual collaboration and support which has existed since the founding days of the university and continues in the present.
Our latest decision to delay commencement activities was a difficult but necessary one to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Universities and colleges across our nation are now eerily quiet at a time of year that typically includes many activities celebrating the return of spring. The buzz of excitement and activity from the physical presence of students living on campuses in communities across our nation has now dramatically declined.
We recognize the significant impact the current situation has on the local economy, including the loss of student workforce for a time, the loss of revenue associated with students living in the community, and the diminished activity of all community members and their participation in local commerce.
While this situation will eventually pass, we should all be mindful of doing what we can now to help these businesses survive. All local businesses are seeing the impact, but those in the service industries are especially hit hard. Many are finding ways to creatively continue providing products and services, whether through drive-up or delivery options, and local efforts from the Chamber of Commerce and others to provide guides of available services, including restaurant options, have been very helpful. (If you haven’t seen the restaurant and business guides developed by the chamber and others, I encourage you to find them and use them as resources in the days ahead.)
When crises occur, creative minds tend to collaborate and join forces to find solutions. A recent example of this happened last week when Theresa Will, City-County Health District director, identified a need for facemasks for local medical and health care providers. Annette Beattie, technology education instructor at Valley City Public Schools, and Tyler Tufte, information technology staff member at VCSU, responded to this need by identifying and implementing a 3D printer design that has been used to produce masks to address the local need. This example of collaboration is yet another instance of the importance of the public schools and public university working together to address an important need and an illustration of how the schools and the university are interwoven into the fabric of our community.
I’d also like to recognize the Valley City Public Schools staff and administration for developing such an outstanding program for continuing to deliver meals to students. This has been a herculean effort, and one that is greatly needed and appreciated in the community.
As we continue to navigate the unchartered waters of COVID-19 and its impact in our community, state, nation and world, we must think and act together while moving forward — forward to the time when this is behind us and we emerge better and stronger than before.