New housing plan campus engagement, status of COVID-19 policy adjustments, examples of Eastern excellence - April 7, 2022

To the Eastern Michigan University community,

It’s wonderful to see the signs of spring on our beautiful campus -- even if it doesn't feel like it on many days! The greening of the grass, the buds on our hundreds of trees – and, when it’s nice out – people sitting outdoors enjoying our more than 800 acres of campus.

Early spring is also a time of great energy on campus as students work to complete the final assignments of their winter semester classes, while faculty and staff get all of their work wrapped up before the end of the semester. This is in tandem with supporting events such as the recently completed Undergraduate Symposium, Student Gold Medallion Awards, and many others.

I would like to thank the many people behind these events, which truly highlight Eastern Michigan University and our students, faculty and staff, at their finest.

I am pleased to share several items in today’s campus update:

  • Alignment of COVID-19 Policies with State/Federal Guidance
  • Welcome Home 2025 Housing Plan – Campus Engagement Update
  • AAATA Public Transit Survey
  • Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence
  • Final Thoughts

Alignment of COVID-19 Policies with State/Federal Guidance 

We have received a great deal of support and compliance with our adjusted COVID-19 policies that took effect the end of March. The adjustments include making the wearing of face masks optional in indoor public spaces on campus, except for in classrooms, at large gatherings or events, and other designated areas where face masks still remain mandatory. These actions align the University with public health guidance from federal, state and local health agencies, as case rates in our surrounding community and on our campus remain low.

The University will continue to offer free face masks and free on-campus COVID-19 testing (visit the Testing Center website for hours of operation and to schedule an appointment). We’re also deeply appreciative of our campus vaccination rates – which average above 90% for employees and many student groups.

Please visit our COVID-19 dashboard for the latest information on campus positivity rates and vaccination data.

The University will offer another free community COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The clinic will take place in the Student Center, and is being offered as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to the standard COVID-19 vaccinations, second booster shots will be available to those who are eligible.

Welcome Home 2025 Housing Plan – Campus Engagement Update

The University and its partners have been heavily engaged in outreach efforts with students, faculty and staff to obtain ideas, feedback and suggestions for the Welcome Home 2025 Housing Plan. The plan includes the renovation of all residence halls, other than those being demolished, and the construction of two new buildings. It represents a transformational opportunity for campus housing and the student experience.

Since Jan. 1, the project team has conducted an enormous amount of engagement with members of our campus community to discuss the plans and seek feedback and suggestions. Engagement includes extensive interaction with students (as an example, more than 1,800 students participated in an online survey); many meetings and presentations have also taken place with faculty and staff. We’re pleased to share this information and the latest building renderings and timeline on the updated Welcome Home 2025 website.

As communicated to campus yesterday, a series of informational forums for students and employees are scheduled for next week. We encourage you to participate.

Additionally, please visit the Welcome Home 2025 table in the Student Center from 9 - 11 a.m. tomorrow, April 8. Ask questions, see floor plans, and learn more. 

AAATA Public Transit Survey

TheRide (also known as the AAATA), our region's public transit system, seeks feedback from the EMU community about the "TheRide 2045," which is the system’s proposed long-range plan. Students and employees are invited to review the proposed plan and complete an online survey. TheRide will continue to seek public feedback about the proposed plan until April 15.

Celebrating Eastern Michigan University Excellence

Please join me in celebrating these fine examples of Eastern excellence:

I hope you will enjoy learning more about the individuals and programs behind our successes. 

Final Thoughts

I recognize that for most of you the month of April is extremely hectic and filled with a lot of demands, whether you are a student or employee. I hope you will take time to pause and decompress when possible, while we all look forward to more signs of spring.  

Stay well and stay safe.

James Smith, Ph.D.