This week is health, wellness and safety week at Appalachian. From our annual Walk for Awareness to the Health, Wellness and Safety festival to the numerous prevention training programs— a variety of educational and communal events fill our calendars and a myriad of resources are in place to promote our community’s well-being.
Sadly, safety is tenuous. For some, a sense of security that feels solid one day can seemingly evaporate the next.
We are seeing the impact of the larger political environment mar the sense of security for our nation’s “Dreamers.” The ramifications of the President’s recent announcement about ending DACA will be far-reaching across the state and nation. Congress now has the opportunity to ensure the safety and security of these U.S. residents who have known no other home. They provide valuable contributions to our society, and deserve the same opportunities as their peers.
At Appalachian, we have a working group, established last spring and made up of faculty, staff and students, who are monitoring the impact these decisions are having on our campus and providing expertise, guidance and perspective as we teach and learn amidst uncertainty.
We strive to provide support, resources and information to the members of our community who may be experiencing fear and uncertainty related to their citizenship status. Regardless of immigration status, our university will continue to dedicate resources to ensure the safety and well-being of every member of the Appalachian Community.
As we navigate national political challenges, we also feel for those who are suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. As the Eastern Seaboard braces for Irma, even in our mountain location, we are preparing.
Our community seeks to help those in need. Disaster recovery efforts will be ongoing for some time, and Student Affairs is working with student groups to be sure their volunteer efforts are effective and meaningful.
I maintain our collective voice is the strongest. We can be protective, prepared and proactive.
I am ever mindful of and thankful for the staff, faculty and students – and for the community organizations with which they collaborate – who keep us prepared; who are watchful; who work so hard to provide the tools we need to cope should our situation – personal or collective – change.
Sheri N. Everts, Chancellor