PHOENIX, April 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The final full day of operations for Grand Canyon University’s COVID-19 vaccination site will be Monday, April 26, as the state and county transition Point of Dispensing (POD) sites to indoor locations.
The GCU POD, which opened to the public on Jan. 26, was unique in that it was operated by the University’s staff and student/employee volunteers for free – saving taxpayers significant amounts of money. The GCU site is expected to administer more than 115,000 vaccines in its three months of operations.
“We didn’t ask to be reimbursed for the expenses of operating the vaccination site because we knew our faculty, staff and student volunteers would step up in a big way,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “They are so proud that they could be part of the COVID-19 solution in our neighborhood.”
The GCU vaccination site was also unique because of its efforts to reach more vulnerable populations in the community. The University’s POD included a walk-up option for individuals who lack a vehicle or rely on public transportation. GCU also partnered with organizations such as Chicanos Por La Causa and the Consulate General of Mexico to help individuals in underserved communities make appointments at the GCU site. And it enabled onsite registrations for individuals who lack a computer, might not have access to the internet or simply had difficulties navigating technology.
“I just love hearing people’s reactions,” said Cristina Maldonado, a GCU health care major who was a frequent volunteer. “It makes me think, I guess we ARE doing some really good work here.”
Sophomore nursing major Judith Torres Ruiz spent about 32 hours a week at the GCU POD – 20 as a student worker and the rest as a volunteer.
“We’re part of history in a way,” she said of why she spends so much time at the POD. But it’s the people who inspired her to continue to volunteer.
“We had people cry because they’re so thankful,” Torres Ruiz said. “Honestly, the people that are so grateful to us is what keeps me coming back.”
When the GCU POD opened in late January, the goal was to vaccinate 500 to 800 people per day. By March, that number was routinely exceeding 2,000 per day with a high of 2,646 on March 27.
“The people on our Events Services team and Welcome Programs are so well-versed in managing big events with traffic flow and volunteer logistics in a way that is incredibly welcoming and friendly,” Mueller said. “Add to that the expertise of our Health Clinic and Emergency Preparedness Services and the incredible servant hearts of our student, staff and faculty volunteers… I had no reservations whatsoever that we could pull this off.”
About Grand Canyon University: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers 270 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.
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SOURCE Grand Canyon University