Friday, May 6, 2016

UAlberta Responds to Fort McMurray Crisis: Update from President

This week, many staff, students, and faculty have been working hard at the University of Alberta to respond to the crisis in Fort McMurray and I wanted to let you know what is being done.

Since Tuesday, our Emergency Operations Centre has been coordinating efforts with staff across campus to prepare for the anticipated arrival of evacuees from Fort McMurray. Our Reception Centre Team has welcomed approximately 450 evacuees at Lister Centre and St Joseph’s College has taken in several families. Evacuees are receiving food, housing, and parking, and have free access to U of A’s recreation facilities and libraries. Our Crisis Counselling team is also providing services.

We continue to work in coordination with the City of Edmonton and Alberta Emergency Management Agency. We will now hold our remaining spaces to co-ordinate any longer-term housing needs that are identified through the city’s emergency reception centre located at Edmonton Northlands.

In addition to these activities, Provost Steven Dew and Vice-Provost and University Registrar Lisa Collins have been working in coordination with the six Edmonton-area Campus Alberta post-secondary institutions.  In partnership, the six institutions sent out a statement this afternoon to assure all applicants, who may have difficulty completing their coursework or getting official marks or transcripts due to the Alberta wildfires, their applications will continue to be processed. The U of A, along with our six partners, will continue to work closely with Alberta Education, the post-secondary institutions that have been affected by the fire, as well as applicants themselves to ensure that they are able to receive admission decisions.

In faculties across the university, every effort has been made to account for students, faculty, and staff who were living or working in Wood Buffalo region. All are safe. However, we also know that the fire has disrupted many field placements, research projects, coops, and internships and we are also working to address these longer term impacts.

Throughout this week, I heard from many in our community that they would like to do something to respond to the emergency. I have seen repeatedly how quickly this community can come together to help others.

Thanks to the volunteer efforts of many across campus, a fundraising BBQ is being organized in support of Fort McMurray for early next week. I invite faculty, staff, students, and alumni to join us.

Where:  North Campus Quad  
When:  Tuesday, May 10 from 11 am – 1:30 pm

More details will be sent on Monday, but I can let you know now that evacuees being accommodated on campus and throughout the city will be asked to join us. We will also have booths available to accept:
cash donations for the Red Cross
non-perishable food items for the Edmonton and Campus Food Bank
personal hygiene, clothing, and domestic items needed by the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services

My warmest thanks to everyone for your hard work and dedicated efforts throughout this week and over the weeks ahead.

Thank you,

David H. Turpin
President and Vice-Chancellor

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