This spring, the world as we know it was upended. Workplaces shuttered, students were sent home, and for many, life came to a screeching halt. As the University community worked to adapt and find the best course forward, the Jefferson Trust was determined to support our grant recipients.
The first step was to affirm our continued support as programs and events were canceled, rescheduled or restructured. The majority of grant recipients are students or faculty, who were simultaneously adapting to the new academic landscape, and the Trust’s goal was to ensure that they could focus on primary responsibilities without detriment to their grant funding.
We began to hear from recipients.
- The Virginia Motorsports Team reported that with students unable to gather, their work on the SAE car had been halted. They requested an extension to delay their participation in the annual SAE race until 2021.
- A student documentary was delayed as in-person interviews were cancelled and moved virtual.
- A project that involved a partnership with local elementary school teachers was delayed for a year in anticipation of a more-stressful-than-normal school year ahead.
Some updates were positive!
- Several groups were able to transition their original events to virtual events. The Alumni Association’s Retold project was one — Trust funds were reallocated to launch the virtual platform.
- A graduate student conference originally scheduled for April was postponed until October, and in October it went fully virtual.
- A project aimed at capturing oral histories of alumni of the 1960s and 1970s pivoted when Reunions was cancelled, as the team planned to record the interviews that weekend. However, they were able to reallocate the production-related costs to provide student interns with stipends in order to conduct the interviews via Zoom over the summer.
- A project funded in February to allow a small group of students to investigate various approaches to modeling COVID saw a dramatic increase in student interest and expanded their original plan to include more than double the student and faculty participants.
- A research project set to investigate air-filtering technologies to fight air pollution turned into a rapid-response effort in utilizing those same technologies for PPE alternatives against COVID.
And this is just a sampling! Across the board, our resilient grant recipient community was able to dig in and move forward in these unusual circumstances. We want to congratulate all of our grant recipients and their teams on their masterful adaptations and their determination to carry forward in the safest way possible.