Amid the pandemic, service, research, and a campus move forward together
The second year of the struggle against the coronavirus began with great uncertainty. Now, two years since the first recorded cases in Oregon, as cases drop and mask regulations loosen, we reflect on a tumultuous journey with renewed hope and bonds of community.
Following the extraordinarily fast development of effective vaccines, the focus of pandemic response shifted to promoting vaccinations, increasing access to testing, and restoring the public’s trust in scientific institutions.
By June, the state of Oregon had achieved a 66.2 percent vaccination rate among adults, and Governor Kate Brown announced steps to begin lifting restrictions and fully reopen the economy. However, the virus continued to mutate and spread, with new variants Delta and Omicron leading to a resurgence in case rates—and a return to masking protocols.
To help protect our community and prepare for a return to in-person classes, the University of Oregon took extraordinary measures. The university distributed 150,000 face coverings, dispersed federal relief funds to more than 13,000 students, and supported more than a dozen vaccination events in Lane County. Throughout the year, UO researchers made vital contributions in helping to understand not only the virus’s biology, but also its emerging social and cultural impacts.
As President Michael H. Schill noted, “The determination of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni as they faced the greatest challenge of this generation is nothing short of amazing.”
We’ve endured, we’ve overcome, and we’ve learned a lot. But there is still much to discover. Lessons from the pandemic will continue to inform how we safeguard public health, prepare students for future success, and build more prosperous, equitable communities.
Community Service by the Numbers
(as of 3/6/22)
(as of 3/6/22)
(Sept. 2021-Feb. 2022)
UO’s Incident Management Team helped to stage 14 vaccine clinics in coordination with Lane County Public Health beginning in April 2021. “What a fantastic sight, seeing our campus community come together,” said Krista Dillon, director of operations for the UO’s Safety and Risk Services. “It’s incredibly gratifying to be able to be part of the team organizing and running the clinics.”
Federal Aid for UO Students
“I moved to Eugene for a new job at UO in February 2020, just one month before everything went into lockdown. It was good to come back and experience the hustle and bustle of campus in the fall and meet colleagues whom I had only met virtually.”
Ruth Huang, Program Associate, Campus and Community Engagement