Clarion University developed a COVID-19 Student Task Force to help fight the spread of the virus as 650 students returned to campus Jan. 25.
The task force comprises 24 student leaders who will work to encourage and educate their peers to follow CDC and state guidelines in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The Student Task Force has been charged with analyzing multiple areas of student life and working to implement projects, as needed, to decrease the spread of infection, promoting student well-being, decreasing irresponsible behavior, and increasing students' general knowledge about the pandemic and how it is currently affecting their day-to-day lives.
Student leaders will manage six work groups focused on public relations and public education, personal protection, governing regulations, programming and events, resident life, and off-campus and remote living.
"While the university has done an excellent job thus far in sharing COVID-19 information with students, we felt that one of the best forms of communicating information to students is through peer interaction," said student trustee Kaitlyn Krupa, chair of the Student Task Force.
Krupa is a student trustee and has served on the university's COVID-19 Taskforce since July.
"Students deserve to know what is happening on their campus to keep them safe, as well as feeling accountable in keeping each other safe. There is so much power in a sense of community. If we can work together during this troubling time, there will be so much to gain," Krupa added.
In addition to Krupa, students serving on the task force include:
- Eugenia Barboza, Clarion
- Taylor Boyle, Pulaski
- Savannah Buttery, Brockway
- Mackenzie Carver, Spencer, Indiana
- Zack Condron, Rochester Mills
- Shelly Jones, Monroeville
- Sara Custer, Pittsburgh
- Danielle Haley, Butler
- Colleen Healey, Bethlehem
- Jenna Joseph, Pittsburgh
- Emily Keltz, Bradford
- Bridget Kent, Pittsburgh
- Lindsey Morris, Monroeville
- Allie Myers, Morrisdale
- Kaylee Olszewski, Pittsburgh
- Zoe Ott, Amissville, Virginia
- Autumn Pettinato, Butler
- Katie Robinson, McDonald
- Sam Shannon, Vandergrift
- Sydney Spang, Ford City
- Antronice Wilson, Pittsburgh
- Kaitlin Windt, Youngstown, Ohio
- Ryan Zavinksi, Warren
"We are so thrilled to have our students taking the lead on such an important issue," said Dr. Susanne Fenske, vice president for Student Affairs. "We knew having their ideas, voices and guidance at the forefront of the university's approach to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 would resonate strongly with their fellow students. Our student leaders have really stepped up and exemplified the characteristics we need from them right now – thoughtfulness, dedication and innovation. We are very excited to see the outcome of their work."
The idea, Krupa explained, is to give students best and better practices.
"I have faith that students will be diligent in following the guidelines put forth by the university and by the state," Krupa said. "We understand that some students are apprehensive in following all the guidelines in place, so we wish to educate them on better practices."
Students who have questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 can check the university's COVID-19 web page at https://www.clarion.edu/covid-19/ or email Krupa at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the task force will work to address any student issues. Students also should follow university social media accounts for updates to remain engaged and up-to-date with the latest issues.
"I believe that students are excited to return. Any step toward a return to normalcy is positive. There is fear, which is natural, but our university has been working non-stop to address any areas of stress," Krupa said.