Pandemic Doesn't Curtail College's Caring Involvement With The Community

Among the college's continuing community involvement, even during the pandemic, was fundraising for the Goodfellows.
Among the college's continuing community involvement, even during the pandemic, was fundraising for the Goodfellows.

Despite the now pandemic, St. Clair stayed extremely active - and generous - in the life of community, according to a report presented to the college's Board of Governors during its January 26th meeting. 

Annually, the administration prepares a report for the Board, to attempt to portray the college's "community engagement" activities, because such outreach has been designated as an institutional priority by St. Clair. 

The report, originating from the office of Vice-President of College Communications and Community Relations John Fairley, noted: 

This past year, COVID-19 has minimized the ability of our student groups and alumni to engage in community events. Yet, the college, student groups, their clubs and the Alumni Association have still been able to make an impact on many aspects of our community, to reinforce our college brand and support students and community engagement. 

THE COLLEGE 

St. Clair College has been an active community partner with many groups and organizations in this unique time of COVID-19. 

In the spring, the college continued with its sponsorship of the First Robotics teams throughout Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. Each local participating high school team received $1,000 in support, and each student who was a member of the team and attended the college in September received a $1,000 entrance award. 

As COVID-19 began to emerge as a serious health threat in the early spring of 2020, St. Clair College became Ontario's first postsecondary institution to turn over one of its buildings to a regional healthcare system for use as a field hospital. St. Clair and Windsor Regional Hospital signed an agreement in April 2020 to transform the school's SportsPlex - a stand-alone athletic facility on the main campus - into a field hospital for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The last COVID patient was discharged in June and, by August, the site was used for COVID-19 testing. Currently, it is being used for the distribution of the vaccine for healthcare workers. 

In March, St. Clair donated hospital beds, ventilators and PPE to local hospitals as the pandemic began to take hold, amid concerns of a shortage of medical supplies. 

In March, Respiratory Therapy students were granted early licences from the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario, to be placed into action in the fight against the virus. 

In April, the college, student government groups and our Alumni Association donated $50,000 to help Windsor Regional Hospital with the purchase of new ventilators in the immediate fight against COVID-19. 

In April, the HealthPlex at the Chatham Campus was turned over to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance to use as a field hospital for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In April, a group of faculty members from Respiratory Therapy and BioMedical Engineering Technology helped a local tool-and-die manufacturer develop a "simple little device" to help with breathing in the event there was a shortage of mechanical ventilators. The project was sent to Health Canada for approval. 

In April, a St. Clair Data Analytics professor was awarded one of 21 research grants by the WE-Spark Health Institute, a newly formed organization that funds local, health-related research projects. 

In August, the college, in partnership with LiUNA! 625, sponsored the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) summer event, "WIFF Under the Stars" (in lieu of its annual festival). WIFF provided three weeks of drive-in movie screenings at the Windsor Waterfront Festival Plaza throughout August and September. 

In early November, the college was approached to be the host of the first-ever Reverse Windsor Santa Claus Parade. With the help of the City of Windsor and the college, the public was invited to drive through a stationary Santa Claus Parade. The parade floats were set up throughout the college's property. The event was held during the first weekend of December. 

In December, the college continued the tradition of providing to our community via The S'Aints Sleighing Hunger Concert. It was the tenth anniversary of the holiday concert, which has raised more than $270,000 over the last decade for area food banks. With the need for assistance in the community greater than ever, the group of veteran musicians decided to go virtual, since an in-person concert was not feasible this year. The S'Aints concert was broadcast virtually on December 18th. The concert raised $75,500 from ticket sales and sponsorships. The funds will be used to replenish shelves at the Unemployed Help Centre food bank in Windsor and Chatham's Outreach for Hunger food bank, and our own student-operated food banks. 

THE STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL (SRC) 

The SRC was the first organizing group in Canada to host a virtual Relay For Life benefitting the Canadian Cancer Society. When the campaign got underway early in 2020, a goal of $20,000 was set. With all of the pledged donations received, the SRC organizers exceeded its fundraising target, raising $27,864.67. 

Before COVID-19 restrictions began, the SRC and the Enactus Club introduced Project reVERT, a student-driven environmental initiative aimed at re-imagining current recycling practices. Their primary focus revolved around a five-tier bin system, separated into categories of waste, organics, paper, aluminum and plastic. By separating these resources, unnecessary waste was diverted from landfills, and the likelihood of cross-contamination was significantly reduced. This, paired with educational campaigns throughout the community, increased the likelihood of successful recycling, and shaped the picture of a greener future. The SRC and the Enactus Club hosted educational and interactive displays at Windsor's Devonshire Mall. 

The SRC and various student clubs continued their traditional assistance for local agencies through the annual Volunteer Fair (virtual format); and supported several community initiatives, including the Kaitlyn Bedard Bone Marrow Drive, Hats On For Healthcare and the Goodfellows paper sales drive. Unfortunately, many of our student clubs were unable to proceed with their plans for community outreach initiatives as a result of COVID-19. 

In the fall, the SRC provided the use of the Student Life Centre at the Windsor campus to the Southwestern Ontario Easter Seals Association for the organization's 38th annual telethon. This two-day telethon was broadcast on CTV and viewed throughout Southwestern Ontario, raising over $107,000 for local Easter Seals families. 

In December, the SRC continued to provide support for students and their families during the holiday season. The SRC provided both food and gift cards for the purchases of gifts, groceries and other needs over the holidays.  

SAINTS STUDENT ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (SSAA) 

The SSAA has been uniquely involved in our community this past year. 

President Michael Beale and two board members presented a cheque for $500 to the Canadian Mental Health Association: proceeds from its golf tournament in September. 

The varsity cross-country team volunteered to sell Goodfellows papers during the annual Christmas drive held in November. Under the leadership of Coach Paul Boots, the team contributed an amazing $19,409. 

The SSAA brought out members of the board and their loveable mascot, Griff, to be part of the Santa Claus Drive-Thru Parade. The group was masked up for the event, and handed out St. Clair colouring books and crayons to children as they drove through the parade route.  

THAMES STUDENTS INCORPORATED (TSI), CHATHAM CAMPUS 

The Registered Practical Nursing Club donated funds to the Chatham-Kent Women's Shelter ($500) and Hope Haven Men's Shelter ($500) in the fall. They have been working with Riverview Gardens, and have created a student position to facilitate social media for families to stay connected during the pandemic. As an economic stimulus throughout the year, they have partnered with local businesses, totalling over $20,000 to give back to students at the college. 

TSI continued its participation in the Chatham-Kent Special Olympics Polar Plunge, and are planning to participate in a virtual Polar Plunge in 2021. 

It has donated to Chatham Outreach for Hunger to help support the community food bank. 

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION 

The Alumni Association continues its support of sponsorships throughout our community. Many of the annual community events were postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic, but the Alumni Association still found events in which to be engaged; 

• Can-Am Police-Fire Golf Tournament; 

• Children's Aid Society Embracing Families Fund Campaign/Gourmet Gardens Canadian Mental Health Association - Ride Don't Hide; 

• Miracle Community Food Drive; 

• Transition To Betterness (T2B) Ride to Survive; 

• Windsor Eats Vendor Outdoor Food Hall at Lanspeary Park; 

• Grow On Windsor IV Poles for Cancer Patients; 

• CBC Sounds of the Season, supporting the Unemployed Help Centre; 

• Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association's Virtual Santa Meet and Greets; 

• The S'Aints Virtual Holiday Concert to support local food banks in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. 

The Alumni Association has started a "Win A #SaintsStrong Lunch for Your Workplace" promotion. This promotion asks workplaces to nominate themselves on the Alumni website, sharing why their workplace is #SaintsStrong, and indicating the number of St. Clair grads they employ. Two workplaces per month will be awarded with Alumni swag, lunch from Capri Pizza for up to 20 people, and will be featured in the monthly Alumni newsletter. 

SEE THESE OTHER BOARD OF GOVERNORS MEETING STORIES: 

Updates from the President: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/pandemic-or-not-enrolment-grows

The college’s ever-increasing involvement in Research and Development: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/college-delves-rd 

The fiscal year’s outcome, with four months left to go: http://stclair-src.org/news/need-know-news/buckets-black-ink-year-end-bottom-line