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My Turn: GCC: Standing with our communities

  • Dawn Josefski, left, director of Greenfield Community College’s EMS and Fire Science Technology program, and GCC Chief of Police Alex Wiltz stand beside supplies distributed to area hospitals, nursing homes and Greenfield Emergency Operations Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • YVES SALOMON-FERNANDEZ

Published: 3/29/2020 1:27:18 PM

During this time of unprecedented challenge, it has been heartening to see how our community has come together and the concern that we all share for the most vulnerable among us. I hesitated having this be the subject of my column this month. When we do good, it is because it’s the right thing to do. Our team convinced me that, as an anchor institution in the community, folks want to know how Greenfield Community College is helping during this time of critical need.

I write this column in that spirit. While we have been steadfast in supporting our students’ academic, technological and emotional needs, we have not lost sight of the greater community of which we are a part. This is how we have contributed so far:

■Before limiting access to the campus, we delivered food from our cafeteria to the Franklin Area Survival Center.

■Our team went through the supplies of all of our health care programs, our science labs, our facilities supplies to identify all that we could distribute to area hospitals, nursing homes, and the Greenfield Emergency Operations Center.

■A number of our employees have been making face masks for nurses and doctors.

■On a more limited level, to support both our students and local restaurants, we bought gift cards for our food-insecure students.

■We have also agreed to serve as a telehealth site, should that be needed.

■We are identifying a range of community education courses that we will offer remotely for the broader community.

■We have appointed a senior liaison from the community to assist us with engaging our older adults who are confined to their homes.

■Lastly, we are in conversation with the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts to determine how we might amplify their efforts, even in a small way. The Greenfield Community College Foundation Board has committed to supporting the Community Foundation’s broader efforts to assist the most vulnerable among us.

To us, this is what it means to be the community’s college. We want to amplify the efforts of so many others who are doing so much during this time. The times are different and so are the challenges. We know that there is more to do and we are prepared to put in the labor. If you have ideas of how we can continue to help, please email us at COVID-19@gcc.mass.edu. We will do our very best.

Dr. Yves Salomon-Fernández is president of Greenfield Community College.


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