Washington State University has signed on to President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 College Vaccination Challenge.
The challenge is part of White House efforts to get at least one shot into 70% or more of U.S. adults before July 4. By partnering with colleges and universities nationwide, the White House hopes to reach more young adults and ensure access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Communities across Washington, and indeed the nation, are made safer by ensuring as many people as possible receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” WSU President Kirk Schulz said. “The Cougar community is ready to participate in this effort in keeping with our land-grant mission of service.”
So far, more than 350 colleges and universities across 46 states have signed on. Participating institutions are expected to meet this week for a virtual webinar to share and discuss ideas for engaging with students, faculty and staff. Dr. Anthony Fauci is expected to kick off the event.
In joining the challenge, WSU is committing to three significant efforts:
Engage every student, faculty, and staff member: Make sure every member of the WSU community knows they are eligible for the vaccine and has resources to find one.
Organize the college community: Lead the way by identifying champions for vaccine efforts across the WSU campus and implementing a plan to get as many members of your college community vaccinated as possible.
Deliver vaccine access for all. Meet the WSU community where it is: bring vaccines on-site, and make it easy for students, staff, and faculty to get vaccinated at sites near them this summer.
The challenge is designed to encourage as many people as possible to get vaccinated before returning to college campuses for the fall.
Thousands of WSU Pullman students have already received the COVID-19 vaccine from Cougar Health Services and community partners. Students and staff from WSU Health Sciences Spokane have also pitched in by assisting with vaccination efforts across the state. The university is also nearly a year into its #CougsCancelCOVID campaign, which has been spreading messages around safe behaviors since August of 2020.
In addition to offering vaccine appointments throughout the summer, Cougar Health Services will host vaccine clinics for students ahead of the opening of fall semester. WSU is requiring students, employees and visitors traveling to a university location to be vaccinated or be granted an exemption.
Participants in the COVID-19 College Challenge will be sharing their progress on social media using the #COVIDCollegeChallenge and #WeCanDoThis! hashtags.