COVID-19 concerns result in a series of cancellations for Newman University

Mar 19, 2020

The Newman University campus is usually buzzing with multiple events in any given week. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and the state regulations that have been placed, spring events have been canceled or postponed.

These events aren’t just limited to those that Newman hosts. Many community events are also scheduled within the events spaces located on campus.

Laura Hartley, director of campus events, said she and her staff are working diligently to stay in communication with both the Newman and local Wichita community members who had planned to hold events on campus.

“COVID-19 has forced us to cancel or postpone all the end-of-year events that make April and May fun and special for our community,” said Hartley. “But we are working hard to figure out new and unique ways to bring the Newman University community together during these unprecedented times. Newman University prides itself on being a family and that belief will continue regardless of any virus.”

Hartley said they will work with outside community groups to accommodate rescheduled events as needed once the pandemic has subsided. She added her appreciation to everyone who is remaining flexible and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Joseph Shepard, director of multicultural engagement and campus life, said students are so greatly affected by this virus and its implications to our societal life. He and his team take their charge to serve students very seriously and are providing anything they can to be of help.

“Throughout the past week, we sent out a questionnaire to assess the needs of every student to ensure they have the resources available to continue their education online,” explained Shepard. “We have personally followed up with every student who needed to be connected to those resources via a phone call and will continue to be a guide for students who need that additional line of support as we navigate the innovation required to serve our students virtually.”

Each semester at Newman is filled with a variety of events: student club fundraisers and special events, Campus Activities Board events created for the student body and holiday-themed celebrations.

With face-to-face classes being canceled and a strictly online learning structure taking place for the remainder of the semester, these fun-filled activities have come to a sudden halt.

However, Shepard and his team are creating new ways to keep the celebrations going and working on forming virtual activities to help keep the Newman community and its family atmosphere alive.

“We realize our students need us now more than ever before. We are working to deliver virtual programs and events that keep our students engaged. From virtual leadership training to virtual Breakfast and Bingo and TikTok video competitions, our team is preparing to roll out robust online programs that adapt to every student and their needs.

“Though this will take some time to develop, our commitment to contribute to the holistic development of every student remains a priority. We are Newman. When adversity hits and obstacles get in our way, we face that adversity and overcome those obstacles together. That is what we plan to do. We want to reassure our students that we will continue to serve them. We’ve got their back and we’re doing everything in our power to meet them where they are.”