USF St. Petersburg: Putting students first while responding to Coronavirus

BY MARTIN TADLOCK, USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s remarkable to think how much our world has transformed in the past month. While the coronavirus has disrupted our day-to-day lives, it has not changed our mission at USF St. Petersburg: to help students succeed. 

I’ve been truly touched by the outpouring of support we’ve received over the past few weeks from members of the community. St. Petersburg is a special place and we appreciate all of the kind and generous people who value our university.  

Like others around the world, most of us at USF St. Petersburg are working and learning from home. I wanted to take a minute to tell you about the many things we are doing to help us continue fulfilling our mission in a virtual setting. 

Our amazing faculty and staff quickly pivoted to remote learning, transitioning more than 450 classes from face-to-face to online. We’re offering a variety of online tools and services to assist students as they continue to advance toward their degrees, from virtual academic advising sessions to real-time discussions with librarians. 

We haven’t neglected student life, the fun and interesting activities that connect and engage our students. The staff in our COMPASS student experience office launched a college pen pal program, connecting students electronically during this time of social distancing. It took off like wildfire and now has more than 1,500 participants from 200 different universities, including Yale, NYU and even the University of Zambia!

We’re also hosting online hangouts via Instagram, and our campus recreation staff created online workouts that you can do at home. You’ll find them on our website at USFSP.edu.

I’ve been especially touched by the many people who have contacted me because they want to help our students. As much as the coronavirus situation has affected all of us, many of our students are even more impacted. Some have lost their jobs, while others face reduced family support due to financial hardship. 

The USF Foundation created a special fund to help students during this time of need. You can learn more or make a contribution by visiting clicking here

Many students are struggling just to eat. In the past three weeks, we’ve distributed more than 500 pounds of food to students in need through our Support-A-Bull food pantry. That’s almost equal to the amount we’ve distributed since the pantry was created in last September. We anticipate the demand will continue to grow. If you’d like to make a donation, there is a drop-off box in the lobby of the University Police Department, 530 3rd St. S, St. Petersburg. 

Currently, the pantry has the greatest need for:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Pasta sauces
  • Soups
  • Rice
  • Toothpaste

While this is a challenging time, we’ll continue to get by as long as we are kind and compassionate with one another. We are so fortunate to be in a community as supportive as ours. I invite you to check USFSP.edu for the latest updates. You can also follow us on social media.

Thank you so much for your ongoing interest, and please stay safe.

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