The world as we know it has changed. Social interactions, business practices and everyday living bear no resemblance to life before COVID-19. All of you, our alumni family, have been deeply affected by the burdens of the pandemic. While the reality of 2020 is hard to comprehend – a global pandemic, racist acts, economic upheaval, wildfires – we’re proud that many of our graduates continue to embrace the University of Guelph’s shared purpose to Improve Life.
Sunny Nakra, B.Comm. ’18, and Samuel Boylan-Sajous were inspired to create a Black Lives Matter app to empower and educate the world about Black history, slavery and segregation. Lang School alumnus Tony D’Amato Stortz, B.Comm. ’20, used his extra time during the pandemic to build gardens for his neighbours to alleviate food-driven anxiety while giving back to his community. And Anne-Marie Connor, MA ’04, who was already battling Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo when COVID-19 erupted, was offered a flight home in April but gave up her seat to someone else.
Despite uncertain circumstances, our alumni community stepped in to help Improve Life for students during #GivingTuesdayNow in May. With students in need of funding for food and emergency relief, the University of Guelph Alumni Association issued a matching challenge, and you responded – resulting in almost $30,000 in support of the campus food bank. In total, our appeals for emergency student support this year raised $84,000. More recently, $350,000 for student awards was donated and doubled by the University’s Awards Matching Program. You have responded with the utmost care, kindness and generous support during a time of great need for our students. Thank you.
You inspire us – we continue to hear about alumni bringing food to others, donating personal protective equipment, making masks for others, pivoting your businesses to respond to the unique demands of the pandemic and providing financial support to those in need. Your response speaks volumes about how much you care. Thank you for meeting U of G’s call to action. You Improve Life every day and we are beyond proud of our alumni family.