YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State president Jim Tressel spoke Wednesday in the university’s first-ever virtual State of the University address. Though he talked to students, faculty and the community through the screen, his message of Penguin strength was all the same.
Tressel focused on the challenges of the pandemic but also the positive things that have come from it.
He used the acronym GROW to explain.
The G stands for gratitude and how thankful the university is for how well everyone has adapted.
“Of course, our students — you’ve been patient,” Tressel said. “I know this is unlike anything I can even imagine. If I were 19 years old in the middle of my college career and something like this happens — your patience has been amazing. Thank goodness you’re technologically inclined because we were thrust into that environment. Your understanding, your resolve, it was a special thing to watch all of you.”
The R is for reassurance, explaining the safety measures in place and how YSU still prioritizes its commitment to learning.
He spoke at length about the safety measures on campus and what’s been implemented. Tressel explained what this year could look like at YSU. They’re focusing on what he calls the “3 W’s” — watching your distance, wearing masks and washing your hands.
They’ve set up 10 hand washing units around campus. Each unit allows 720 people to wash their hands every hour.
The university is also creating “Pete’s Clean Team.” It will be a group of students making sure high-use areas are sanitized.
They’re also adding the “Penguin Patrol,” where students around campus will remind you to keep your distance.
Overall, YSU won’t be as crowded. Tressel said classrooms will only have, at most, 50% of their normal capacity.
The O is for opportunity, to use this time to move forward in new ways.
Lastly, the W represents work together.
“We’ve got to really believe that through this tough situation that we’re a part of, every single one of us has to have that unwavering faith that we’re going to get through this, and that we’re going to be better for it, and that we’re going to become a better Youngstown State University than we’ve ever been but we can’t ignore the difficulty of the challenge,” Tressel said.
YSU’s campus has been quiet since mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic. The university plans on an August 17 start date for the fall semester with a combination of online and in-person learning.
You can watch the full State of the University address below:
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