In March 2020, the USask Health Sciences team was one of the last groups to leave campus before the lockdown was complete. Other groups had been granted permission to leave campus earlier in the week following the World Health Organization's pandemic announcement on March 11, 2020.
After a whirlwind of activity to communicate the cancellations/postponements of events such as the March 24-26 Gathering for miyomahcihowin and mii yoo naa kaa twayh ta mihk, the May 7 Life & Health Sciences Research Expo, and sessions within the Food for Thought Planetary Health Series, I was still on campus wondering what value there was in having me around while practically everyone else had been allowed to leave. Like many others, I was concerned about everything around me — from what I was touching to the people around me.
On the morning of March 19, 2020, I realized that the one thing I could do from campus that I could not do from home would be to capture video footage of the empty campus. Having attended a special webinar for "University Communicators on Coordinating and Executing Communications on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”)" on March 12, I was acutely aware of the need to help uplift people's spirits and let them see how important it was to stay physically distant while we were all learning about how COVID-19 was transmitted.
As such, I spent the day and part of that evening writing and editing this video from my office within the Health Sciences Building. That was my last day on campus before our unit was allowed to work from home.
My goal was to give people hope that the emptiness they saw on the screen was for a good cause and that the USask community was still rallying as a group even if they were separated physically. I also wanted to demonstrate how we were all upholding the commitments of the 2025 University Plan, so I included mention of "boundless collaboration", "seeking solutions", "great challenges", "meaningful change", and "inspired community" as well as references to our diverse USask groups. Thanking people for their actions and willingness to adapt was very important to me.
I wasn't asked to create this video, but with everyone so busy working to lock down the campus and create logistics for addressing the USask pandemic response, this was my way of helping our community process the significance of what was happening while underscoring that we were all still together even if we were apart.
After running the video past Associate Vice President, Strategic Communications, and Chief Communications Officer Gord Hunchak and Director of Marketing Jeff Drake, I posted the video to Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter and provided copies for other units to share to their students, faculty, and staff. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
NOTE: The music for this video was properly licensed and paid for by the USask Health Sciences. Outro created by University Relations Creative Services Specialist Brian Kachur.
Communications Strategist for the USask Health Sciences.