Since then, signs of the pandemic’s toll have been apparent and have been experienced by every member of our university community, including our 164,000 alumni around the world. Our lives have been disrupted as they have never been before.
Many assumptions were made at the beginning of the pandemic about its likely negative effects on the province, the world, and this university. And although the past year and a half has been difficult for so many, much has been achieved.
As Saskatchewan's research-intensive medical-doctoral university, we have been a strategic and critical partner in the province’s response and recovery efforts, supporting the health-care system, finding solutions, and working to help the province emerge stronger from the pandemic.
This includes advising government, supporting students in need, transforming Merlis Belsher Place into a field hospital and then a vaccination centre, and predicting community COVID-19 rates based on wastewater analysis. We have accomplished all this while continuing to excel in water research, sustainability initiatives, and our commitment to Reconciliation.
USask’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) has emerged as a leader in the country’s efforts to secure a vaccine. Researchers have been recognized nationally and around the world for being the first in the country to isolate the virus, for developing an animal model for it, and for developing Canada’s first vaccine candidate. There is no doubt, then, why this remarkable story of resilience is the cover story for this issue of Green & White.
There is much to look forward to, and although the last year and a half has been challenging, we are now fortunate enough to ask ourselves, “What will the post-pandemic world look like for USask?”
Our Post-Pandemic Shift Project aims to inform future decisions ensuring the university emerges from the pandemic stronger and with renewed vigour and vision.
While we are preparing to have many programs, classes, and labs return to inperson delivery in September, and much more than we had in this past term, the Fall Term should be considered “transitional” as we will continue to offer some classes remotely.
Encouraged by our USask community’s confident and positive response to the pandemic, I have reason to believe we will emerge united, deliberate, and creative in our commitment to being the university the post-pandemic world will need.
Many stories of resilience are told in these pages of the Green & White. When the world needed help, you stepped up in unprecedented ways. Our alumni teachers moved online. Our alumni health-care workers went to work every day to fight COVID-19. Our alumni engineers invented innovative new ways to help their colleagues. Our alumni researchers found solutions to combat the virus.
Throughout this pandemic one thing remains certain: USask alumni are what the world needs.
COVID-19 is not over, but I am thankful we are now beginning to see beyond the difficulties and challenges, and that a better time awaits us on the horizon. And I thank all members of the USask community, including our USask alumni, for upholding the vision, mission, and values of this great university over this intensely challenging period in our history.
President and Vice-Chancellor