COVID-19 at Western: One year later
Faculty stepping up to support transition to distance education: Distance education begins for all Western Michigan University students. The transition to virtual forms of learning is an effort to flatten the curve and mitigate risk associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it's new territory for many students and faculty.
Thinking outside the gym—SRC gets creative to promote wellness: Student Recreation Center employees get creative while the rec center is closed, offering livestream and on-demand fitness options to keep the Western community healthy and active.
Units across WMU donate personal protection equipment to medical professionals: Various colleges and units on campus collect personal protection equipment such as gloves, masks, disposable gowns, face shields, respirators and ethanol or isopropyl alcohol for Sindecuse Health Center and local health professionals.
Sew worth it—fashion design students use skills to craft masks for hospital workers: Several fashion design students join together to sew face masks to help fill the critical need for personal protection equipment in local hospitals.
WMU 3D printers producing face shields and masks for health care workers: Faculty and staff use 3D printers to produce face shields for health care workers who desperately need them in the fight against COVID-19.
WMU public health students' social media campaign: #Bewellwmu during pandemic: Compassion and empathy amid the COVID-19 pandemic are the focus of a social media campaign designed and launched by students in Western Michigan University's chapter of the Society for Public Health Education, Eta Sigma Gamma.
Physics professor amasses support for WMU students: Dr. Michael Famiano leads a group of faculty, staff, alumni, families and community members to collect and deliver food and household products to students living on or near campus. The effort later grows into the nonprofit Community Student Connection.
WMU nursing program students, faculty are pandemic prepared: Western Michigan University nursing students join the workforce to help local hospitals amid COVID-19.
WMU student recruiting and orientation captivating from afar: The transition to distance recruiting inspires the Office of Admissions to launch a virtual campus tour, featuring panoramic views and a slice of student life from student ambassadors.
WMU professor unites health care heroes, Broadway stars to raise spirits and funds during pandemic: Jay Berkow, director of music theatre performance, spearheads the Resilient Project—bringing together dozens of Broadway stars to sing his inspirational anthem, "Resilient," alongside front-line health care workers.
Campus community navigates unprecedented shift to distance learning: From lecture halls to living rooms, the move to distance education changes the learning environment at Western Michigan University, enabling Broncos to adapt and rise above the COVID-19 crisis.
WMU launches rapid-result COVID-19 testing: Active COVID-19 antigen testing that offers results within 15 minutes becomes available at Sindecuse Health Center. Though symptomatic individuals are prioritized, members of the WMU community can get tested whether they have symptoms of the virus or not.
Pandemic inspires students to create ‘A Moment of Magic’ in myriad ways: Students in WMU's 'A Moment of Magic' chapter continue to put smiles on sick children's faces and expand their efforts by transitioning to distanced visits.
Bronco Bash goes virtual: Determined to foster community and connections, the Office of Student Engagement re-imagines Bronco Bash 2020 as a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Landscape Services plants seeds of stewardship, innovation on WMU campus: Spared from pandemic closures by greenhouse specialist Christopher Jackson, native plant seedlings are planted across campus as part of a larger goal to increase naturalized areas on campus and enhance learning opportunities.
Professor uses COVID-19 grant to create low-cost respiratory device: Dr. Alessander Danna-dos-Santos develops a spirometer to measure lung efficiency. His WMU COVID-19 grant-funded research seeks to sidestep more costly design and production methods to benefit underfunded healthcare clinics and the patients they serve.
WMU employs state-of-the-art cleaning technologies in effort to keep COVID-19 off campus: From antimicrobial solutions and misters to electrostatic disinfecting equipment, a number of state-of-the-art cleaning processes are employed ahead of fall semester to mitigate spread of COVID-19 as students return to campus.
WMU professor develops face shields to make children safer at school: Dr. Alessander Danna-dos-Santos, associate professor of physical therapy, spearheads a project in his Western laboratory to give an added layer of protection in the form of children's face shields to dozens of kids returning to in-person learning.
Student Recreation Center reopens with safety precautions in place: The Student Recreation Center returns to action in phases, beginning with outdoor and virtual fitness programming to promote wellness and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Outdoor, socially distant performance brings live theatre back to WMU: WMU Theatre brings "Sunday in the Park with George" to life in Miller Fountain Plaza in front of the Richmond Center for Visual Arts.
Campus car parade shows off Bronco pride: While the pandemic delays the start of football, the WMU Alumni Association re-imagines homecoming week with a nod to past traditions: a campus car parade.
Mental Health Week at WMU aims to raise awareness, offer resources: Mental Health Week at WMU features a variety of events to highlight wellness resources the campus community can utilize to take care of their mental well-being.
Student group focuses on breaking the stigma surrounding mental health: X-Hale helps break down stigmas surrounding mental health among students and encourages healthy behaviors as college students nationwide report having experienced stress or anxiety as a result of COVID-19.
So that all may learn: Dr. Selena Protacio, associate professor of literacy studies, and her team receive a COVID-19 Response Grant to fund a research study focused on bridging the technology gap between English learners in rural areas and their teachers by utilizing voice recorders to deliver lessons.
Associate professor leads effort to save local restaurants, support front-line workers in pandemic: Dr. Sally Hadden helps create Feed the Fight Kalamazoo, which raises tens of thousands of dollars to deliver more than 8,000 meals from local restaurants to health care workers.
WMU confers about 1,400 degrees during virtual fall commencement ceremonies: In addition to the conferring of degrees and a presentation of graduates, the ceremony includes speeches , vignettes of graduate success, insight from college deans and a tribute to graduates from faculty, staff and family.
New app offers self-guided tour experience to prospective WMU students: The Office of Admissions re-imagines the prospective-student experience amid the global pandemic with a new self-guided tour app, giving families an innovative way to experience campus on their own terms.
Martin Luther King Jr. remembered with virtual events, community read: The University continues its tradition of honoring slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. with a series of virtual events centering on this year's theme of "None of Us is Free Until All of Us Are Free."
Art galleries reopen to public at WMU: The Richmond Center for Visual Arts welcomes visitors back in person with the sculptural work of assistant professor Patrick D. Wilson, called "Black Tent Transit."
Western prepares students for virtual interviews amid pandemic: Students prepare themselves for the virtual job-hunting experience with the help of Career and Student Employment Services and the Zhang Career Center. The University hosted several virtual career fairs throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
Pandemic pushes dancers to explore new territory in virtual Winter Gala: The evolution of communication in the pandemic inspires assistant professor Kelsey Paschich's piece "Recode," which students perform at the annual Winter Gala Dance Concert.
‘Choir for Good’ sets the stage for students to explore purpose, amplify nonprofits: Students participate in the innovative and interactive "Choir for Good" virtual concert, weaving together music and social justice in an effort to give back to nonprofits during an uncertain time.
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A lot can happen in a year. On March 16, 2020, amid a growing public health crisis, Western Michigan University began distance education. Students, faculty and staff worked quickly to find new ways to learn, teach and create, facing challenges head-on as they traversed uncharted territory sparked by the global pandemic. At the same time, Broncos stepped up to support the community, creating and donating personal protective equipment for front-line workers and banding together to feed students in need.
Take a look back at some of those accomplishments and examples of Western innovation and resilience in the photo gallery above.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.