Courtesy of Grambling University,
Grambling State University was recently honored for winning the LEAD: Future Forward Change Champion Award for 2021 from HBCUgrow.
The award, presented at the annual HBCUgrow LEAD Conference in Richmond, Va., is to recognize HBCUs that did a good job of pivoting to address the recent challenges and positioning in their schools for future growth. The challenges Grambling State faced during COVID and how the university responded played a significant role in earning the honor.
“The real credit has to go to everybody who played a part and this was truly a team effort,” said Grambling State University President Rick Gallot. “Everybody who served on our COVID response team – from academic affairs to information technology, student affairs, food service – everyone played an instrumental role in responding to something that none of us ever thought we would have encountered in our lifetime. You saw a true effort to make sure we provided the services that were so desperately needed by our students as well as not compromising the safety and health of our faculty, staff and community as well.”
COVID-19 caused a rift across the country as universities were left scrambling to pivot operations and instruction. Although courses transitioned to a fully online format at the onset of the pandemic, Gallot said the institution wanted to continue to support those students who were in need.
“During the onset of the pandemic, there were so many other schools that did not have the wherewithal to sustain the student populations on campus,” Gallot said. “One of our peer institutions had less than 350 students on campus and we had close to 2,000.”
Recent upgrades to the IT infrastructure prior to the pandemic made it possible to offer a strong wireless connection to resident students while a laptop loan program aided off-campus students with taking online courses. Campus living and housing also adjusted their in-person programming to a virtual format to stay connected.
“It showed that we had the capacity to support our students, many of whom really needed the reliability of a place to stay, food service, and having access to technology that many of them did not and would not have had at home. All-in-all, our team performed magnificently under some incredibly unprecedented challenges.”
HBCUgrow is a consortium of people dedicated to helping HBCU’s grow enrollment and alumni giving and tackle the changing landscape of marketing challenges.