Dear University of Saskatchewan community,
Our USask campus is quiet as we do our part to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. But these empty hallways don’t show the important work taking place behind the scenes at our university.
The winter term, which was just a few weeks from being complete, has moved to online delivery, and thousands of our students will be graduating this spring in an uncertain world.
However, many of our students can’t ponder the future yet, as they struggle to manage in the present.
Each day, we are hearing from an increasing number of students who need help. Loss of their part-time jobs leaves them without the money to pay rent and bills, buy groceries and necessary medication. Due to the closure of the library with its free computers to use, they may have had to pay for a computer to get through the remainder of their classes. Some need car repairs to be able to go home, while “going home” is not an option for many international students.
Many of you are asking what you can do to help. Thank you. Working together is the heart of our province and our university, and though we are physically apart, people connected to this place are always inspired to pull together.
One of the best ways to help students immediately is through the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust, a fund established by Professor Emeritus Dr. Kay and Mrs. Dora Nasser. This fund can be used for a wide variety of crisis needs, is available to students quickly, and requires no repayment. If you would like to support this fund, please click here.
Before the pandemic, one student would typically access this emergency funding in a week. This week alone, 21 students have asked for funds to help cover the most basic of needs: food and shelter. I know we are all feeling the effects of this novel coronavirus in our communities, both financially and emotionally.
Our goals as a university are to protect the health and safety of our campus community, allow our students to finish the current academic term, ensure students in residence who can’t return home are supported, follow provincial and federal directives in flattening the curve, and continue Canada’s vital COVID-19 research, which you can read more about here.
We are all a community in this and we will all get through this together.
Be healthy, safe and well.
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Saskatchewan