GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Health and safety is a top priority at Grand Rapids Community College. So, when they hosted their annual Raider Rally on Aug. 28 to kick off the new school year, it included a vaccine clinic.
“Ultimately what we want to do is we want to move the needle,” said GRCC associate provost Tina Hoxie. “We want our students to get their vaccine because we don’t want our students, especially starting here at the college, to have disrupted education.”
So, GRCC pitched a large tent on the Finkelstein patio and brought in some nurses who gave students the vaccine if they wanted one.
“It’s about availability and convenience,” Hoxie said during an interview with FOX 17 on Friday afternoon. “Our students are busy. We know that. And, we want to promote and encourage our students to get the vaccine.”
@GRCC launches vaccine incentive program, whichll give students $2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ if they’re fully vaccinated by 11/15. So far 3,000 are signed up.— Lauren Edwards (@LaurenEdwardsTV) September 3, 2021
💰 can go to 📚, 🍽, parking, etc.
Also, 2 more vax clinics scheduled:
🔘 9/8 at GRCC main campus
🔘 9/14 at Lakeshore campus // @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/CIj50Se988
Hoxie, who’s also the dean of student affairs, said it was also open to the public. That day, 25 people got the vaccine, and those who were students will soon receive $200.
“We have funding from our Higher Education Emergency Relief fund, and we made a decision to do a $200 incentive for our registered students for the fall semester that get the vaccine. [It’s a] really simple process,” Hoxie said. “What this does is it puts $200 in the hands of our students to also help them with their educational expenses.”
Hoxie said faculty and staff know that the pandemic hit students hard financially. So, the $200 they receive — if they’re fully vaccinated by Nov. 15 — will go on their Raider Card and can be used toward anything school related like books, dining and parking.
“With COVID 19, specifically with the Delta variant and the breakthrough cases that we’re seeing in Kent and Ottawa County, students without the vaccine [can] end up with serious illness and be hospitalized,” she said.
It’s something they don’t want to see, so they’re holding additional clinics in the coming weeks. The first two will be on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Finkelstein Hall from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then at the Leslie M. Tassell M-TEC center from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The second will be on Sept. 14 at the new GRCC Lakeshore Campus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Regardless of a person's vaccination status, everyone is required to mask up on campus, she said. It's one of the measures GRCC is taking in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.
“I think with the students I’ve talked to, that helps them to feel safe, and wearing the mask is something they can do,” Hoxie said.