A vaccination education
Students gathered last Wednesday, Sept. 22, for a day of learning, not for their usual class topics, but about the COVID-19 vaccine.
A collective of University faculty, led by communication department chair Joseph Valenzano, offered a full day of presentations on topics from the Catholic Church’s position on vaccines to the science behind immunity.
The Student Government Association sponsored the day and held a panel for students, faculty and staff to share their reasons for getting vaccinated. SGA President Drew Moyer said he believes the event was positive overall, with more than 1,300 students attending.
“Being able to attend an event that is specifically tailored to the students' individual interests was very helpful, I believe,” Moyer said. “[SGA] believes that the event went very well and that we were able to further educate the student body on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine.”
Christa Johnson, professor of philosophy, gave a talk on individual responsibility and collective action when it comes to getting the shot. She praised the event for including a diverse group of topics and allowing an occasion for everyone to learn something new, regardless of vaccination status.
Her session “Does my vaccine make a difference?” was one of the most attended events of the day. Johnson used a series of metaphors to illustrate how a single person can positively contribute to a collective action goal, even when it may feel futile.
"It's about trying. It's about showing up, showing you care, and recognizing that even if something bad is inevitable, it doesn't mean you have to be a part of it. You can still try to be the solution,” Johnson said. “You matter more than you think, and, it turns out, if you want to show you care, you should contribute to the solution."
“It’s about showing up, showing you care, and recognizing that even if something bad is inevitable, it doesn’t mean you have to be a part of it. You can still try to be the solution.”
UD’s housing program AVIATE awarded housing credits to students who attended at least one session and encouraged students to report their vaccination status.
The teach-in was part of UD’s ongoing effort to keep classes in-person and vaccinate students, faculty and staff. A vaccine clinic ran alongside the presentations, allowing anyone who hadn’t already gotten the vaccine to do so or to report their vaccination status. That day’s vaccinations added 45 students to the Building Immunity in Our Community challenge, which currently reports 73 percent of campus as fully vaccinated.
“We need to have more days like this where we educate people to get them vaccinated,” Johnson said.