President's Message to Campus - Jan. 14, 2021

Spring 2021 Welcome and Move-In

The Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services has organized a series of virtual and in-person events to welcome students for the spring semester. We all understand that the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic require extra assistance to help students build community in this socially distanced time. These events are designed to foster student engagement, to help them learn about their interests and to make new friends. You can assist with building this first connection by encouraging students to attend. More information is available at Bulldog Connect and on the CLACS website.

Spring move-in begins tomorrow and continues throughout the weekend. As part of their return, students living on campus are required to be tested for COVID-19. This testing will be offered tomorrow through Sunday at the Student Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clinic organizers are looking for volunteers to assist with registration, temperature checks and to help welcome our students back to campus. Volunteers will receive a T-shirt to wear at the clinic, a meal at the Rock Cafe before or after a 4-hour shift, a coupon for the Brutus Bowls salad robot, and be entered to win prizes. If you can assist, please sign up here. Thank you in advance for your help.

4th Annual MLK Day of Service Project - Operation Safe Sidewalks

On Saturday, students are invited to participate in the 4th annual MLK Day of Service Project – Operation Safe Sidewalks organized by the Student Volunteer Center. Students will be shoveling and salting sidewalks for residents within the city of Big Rapids. Students can sign-up for a two-hour time slot online. This is an opportunity for our students to volunteer and to help others in remembrance of Martin Luther King. Please encourage your students to participate.

The Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion have also organized the following events next week on Zoom:

Monday, Jan. 18

Tuesday, Jan. 19

  • Day of Reflection featuring clips of the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., Dr. King’s 1967 speech “The Other America” and facilitated discussion at 11 a.m. (Zoom meeting ID: 3765117787 and password: omss)

Wednesday, Jan. 19

  • Student Tribute featuring speeches and songs at 7 p.m. (Zoom meeting ID: 3765117787 and password: omss)

Please participate and attend these virtual events if you able.

Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

In late December Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), providing federal support for many entities including higher education. Estimates indicate we should receive almost $16.2 million in funding through this new legislation. These funds will help cover some of the University’s financial losses resulting from COVID-19. Additionally, approximately $4.8 million of these funds will be distributed as grants to our students.

The specifics on the uses for these funds, eligibility requirements for receiving them and the timetable on when the University will receive this funding are still being determined by the U.S. Department of Education. I am delighted that we will be able to provide additional financial assistance for our students, who continue to face significant financial challenges as a result of the pandemic.

SPARC

In December many Strategic Planning and Resource Council members virtually attended an all-day strategic planning retreat focused on enrollment. Over 80 members of the University community participated in this retreat. Through various breakout rooms participants discussed the current opportunities and challenges around enrollment, brainstormed ways we can maximize these opportunities and how to identify the most significant institutional barriers to progress on these actions.

To continue this important work, Tuesday’s SPARC meeting will focus on a synthesis of the materials developed at the retreat and action steps we can take to move these ideas forward. SPARC meetings are open to all; you are invited to participate. We especially encourage everyone who participated in the December retreat to attend. Please join us on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. For the Zoom login credentials, e-mail Terri Cook.

David L. Eisler, president