President's Message to Campus - Sept. 18, 2020

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month began this week and runs through Oct. 15 to honor the diversity of experiences and cultures that comprise Hispanic and Latino heritage. Throughout the month and into October, the University will host a series of virtual celebrations. This month’s events include:         

In addition, the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia is offering virtual tours to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and showcase the interconnectedness of Latinx, Afro Latinx and African American communities. You can register for this virtual tour online. More information on these events is accessible on the Office of Multicultural Student Services website.

Thank you to Hispanic Heritage Month committee co-chairs Kaylee Burke and Darnell Lewis, and the Center for [email protected] Studies, Diversity and Inclusion Office, Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc., Hispanic Student Organization, LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Office of Multicultural Student Services, Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., and the Spanish Program for supporting and organizing these events.

Bulldog Alleyway Cleanup

Last weekend 105 Ferris students collected 24 bags of trash and 11 buckets of debris from 51 blocks throughout the city of Big Rapids as part of this year’s Big Alleyway Cleanup. Co-sponsored by the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services Volunteer Center and the Student Government Association, this event brought together more than nine Registered Student Organizations whose members gave back to the Big Rapids community. Thank you to all the students who participated in this annual event, and to the organizers for providing this service opportunity to our students.

Strategic Planning and Resource Council

Nearly 65 faculty and staff participated in an engaging discussion during Tuesday’s Strategic Planning and Resource Council (SPARC) meeting held on Tuesday via Zoom. Much of the discussion centered on our strategic plan, Ferris Forward, and the ways in which the assumptions and strategies associated with the plan need to be adjusted due to the pandemic.

At the SPARC meeting I provided an update on fall enrollment numbers, the University’s budget, and shared our renewed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. You can view the PowerPoint presentation online. If you have not had the opportunity to read “Our University’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” I hope you will do so. If you would like to publicly commit to supporting this effort at Ferris, please e-mail me at [email protected] and your name will be added to the list online. Additionally, I strongly encourage you to read David Pilgrim and Franklin Hughes’ book, “Haste to Rise.” Mr. Ferris’ leadership during the Jim Crow era is a great example for us today.

Jeanine Ward-Roof concluded the meeting with an update on the Re-entry Committee’s re-engagement efforts and efforts across the University to educate our students on the importance of continued social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding large crowds. Many faculty and staff have and are working very hard to allow us to provide a safe living and learning environment this fall. Several new updates were shared, including the COVID-19 dashboard data will now be updated Monday through Friday by 5 p.m. and the robust testing and surveillance monitoring being implemented. You can view this presentation online also.

Thank you to everyone who attended and for devoting time and energy to these important discussions that will help move Ferris forward now and in the future.

David L. Eisler, president