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Colorado Mesa University Announces Maverick Community Vaccine Day

Campus Vaccination Day on April 19 offers convenient virus protection for all interested CMU community members

On April 19 each member of the CMU community will be encouraged to take an individual step towards a collective ability to reduce future COVID-19 limitations on campus. Campus officials, student leaders and community health partners will offer vaccinations at the Maverick Pavilion from 9am to 3pm.

“Vaccines will be available Monday, April 19, to all students who want to travel in their personal lives, compete in CMU athletics and/or performing arts and/or to those who want to participate fully in campus clubs and organizations next semester,” said Safe Together, Strong Together Co-Chair Amy Bronson, EdD. “Those without a vaccine will likely face more challenges engaging in these activities than those who are not protected and through this event we want to celebrate what the vaccine offers for our future.”

While the clinic will provide vaccinations to students, faculty and staff, Colorado Mesa University will not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for the campus community.

“Some may believe offering individual choice is shortsighted,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “Afterall, other universities in Colorado are requiring students to get a COVID-19 shot.  But we believe that left to their own commitment to CMU that students will support our effort to protect the larger community and the wellness and well-being of each other.”

Foster said he also believes that the role of higher education is to teach students how to think, not what to think — and how to build community from individual action towards the community greater good.

“The decision to get a shot against COVID-19 is influenced by a complicated cultural conversation happening throughout the democratic world. The vaccine debate centers around the pandemic, the nature of self-responsibility relative to collective well-being and a diversity of empirical evidence we all have to interpret and consider. Given this complexity we are highly encouraging all of the CMU community to protect themselves and others while acknowledging there are some who will choose not to get the vaccine for reasons that are uniquely their own.”

Throughout the last year, CMU students engaged in the conversation referenced by Foster through their actions. CMU Physician Assistant students, nursing students, and kinesiology and health sciences faculty and staff demonstrated a willingness to shoulder responsibility for community and to contribute to the wellness of those most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. In March, CMU created a mobile vaccination clinic with the Grand Junction Housing Authority. During this project, students administered COVID-19 vaccines to people facing mobility challenges. Older citizens who received the vaccine during this clinic also happened to live across from campus in assisted living centers. The community project demonstrated, in part, why CMU is not forcing people to get the vaccine.

“Mavericks already understand their responsibility to others,” said Campus Vaccine Advisor Michael Reeder, MD.

The vaccine event on April 19 is occurring after the university celebrates a year of national attention for the success of its pandemic response plan and communication efforts. According to CMU Vice President John Marshall the Safe Together, Strong Together plan was a success in part because students chose to contribute and comply with health expert advice and directives.

“CMU was among the first in Colorado to announce a return to in-person learning, we were leaders in virus testing and were among the only Colorado campuses to safely conduct live commencement ceremonies,” said Marshall. "These milestones were a direct result of parent and student belief in and adherence to our plan.”

The live commencement ceremony received attention from national media outlets and became a model of innovation and creativity that CMU became known for throughout the pandemic

Campus officials will join student leaders during the vaccination clinic and encourage all students, faculty and staff to stop and get their shot on Monday, April 19. The university mascot will join the event offering refreshments, prizes and music. All students who receive their vaccination will be entered to win a number of prizes.

Students interested in registering for the vaccine clinic should refer to an inviation recieved in their campus email. 

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Written by David Ludlam