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Your chance to ask the UGA experts

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has left us all with, it’s questions. What’s next for our education systems? Can the course of the disease be predicted? Why is it so challenging to communicate relevant science topics to society? How are vaccines developed for infectious diseases?

It’s hard to know what the impact of COVID-19 will be or how long it will change the way we live, but there’s no one better to ask than UGA experts from diverse academic disciplines. In a series of interactive online sessions called the Ask Me Anything series, UGA faculty members will discuss the effects of this global pandemic in their area of expertise.

SERIES SPEAKER LINE-UP

John Drake

JOHN DRAKE

Distinguished Research Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Director at the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases

Thursday, May 7
3:30 PM EST

Can the course of the epidemic be predicted?

Drake will provide an update about the current patterns and potential trajectory of COVID-19 in Georgia and the U.S. Results of computer models that have been developed at the University of Georgia by he and other members of the Coronavirus Working Group will be shared and further explained, with ample opportunities for questions and discussion. Drake will provide a demonstration of the COVID-19 Portal, a repository of data and maps related to the pandemic that is shared with decision-makers and researchers at institutions around the world. As new data become available, Drake and his colleagues continue to refine our understanding of how human interventions can impact the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Glen Nowak UGA AMA

GLEN NOWAK

Director of Center for Health & Risk Communication

Tuesday, May 12
3:30 PM EST

Public Health, New Media, and COVID-19: Why is Communicating so Hard?

Information and advice about COVID-19 are being put out daily by public health agencies, elected officials, and news media. The good news, it’s possible to find information and advice quickly on many COVID-19 topics. The bad news, information and advice are often challenging and conflicting. This session will focus on what makes COVID-19 communication, advice, and messaging so difficult, including tips for understanding and using it.

Ted Ross Ask Me Anything UGA

TED ROSS

Director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and Professor of Infectious Diseases

Thursday, May 14
3:30 PM EST

Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Development

Ross leads a team of researchers at UGA who are working on vaccines to combat the coronavirus. He has spent a large part of his career studying viruses and developing vaccines and treatments.

Shepherd

MARSHALL SHEPHERD

Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor
Director, Atmospheric Sciences Program

Tuesday, May 19
3:30 PM EST

Zombies, Sports, and Soft Drinks: Implications for communicating complex science topics

Shepherd will use the lens of contemporary events to describe challenges with communicating complex science topics that affect society such as climate change or COVID-19. He will explore biases that shape public perspectives on science and present ways to move forward.

STEPHANIE JONES + HILARY HUGHES

Stephanie Jones is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor. Hilary Hughes is an Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator.

Thursday, May 21
3:30 PM EST

Teaching and Learning in a time of the COVID-19 Crisis: Imagining What’s Next

As schools have settled into the new normal of managing the crisis as best they can, and some have already started various forms of summer schooling, our attention has turned to what might be possible next. In other words, while this crisis has brought education systems to a screeching halt, it has also become more clear to a lot of people that there are many forms of positive and powerful “education” that have been excluded from schools because of their narrow focus on test preparation and high-stakes testing. This is a moment when we can reimagine what kind of schooling we collectively want for our children and youth.

Michelle vanDellen

Michelle vanDellen

Associate Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia.

Tuesday, May 26
3:30 PM EST 

PsyCorona: A Multinational Research Project Investigating Psychological Reactions to COVID-19.

The spread of COVID-19 is an international phenomena with far reaching implications for physical and economic health. PsyCorona is a multi-national project investigating how psychological factors relate to the spread of the virus. Working with teams of data scientists, vanDellen is connecting psychological factors to big data sets containing information about virus spread and policy implementation. Participants in the study come from 22+ countries and have been tracked weekly since mid-March. VanDellen will overview the study, describe some of the research projects in place that are using the data set, and answer questions about how psychological factors may relate to the spread of COVID-19.

CHARLES S. BULLOCK III

University Professor, Richard B. Russell Professor of Political Science and Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor

Thursday, May 28
3:30 PM EST

Bullock is an expert in southern politics, legislative politics and elections and electoral systems. His seminar will discuss how the global pandemic is impacting our political landscape. He is known as a reliable and dependable source to publications like The Atlanta-Journal Constitution and The New York Times.

 

All sessions are free of charge and are open to anyone who would like to participate. Simply register for a session and you will be sent a Zoom link on the day of the event.

Registration closes at 5:00 PM EST the day before each session takes place.

Questions? Contact alumni@uga.edu

UGA grad connects people in the age of social distancing

It’s no secret that the coronavirus has made dating more complicated. Typical date spots are shut down and those in quarantine alone are prevented from meeting potential romantic interests in person.

But that didn’t stop roommates Rance Nix (ABJ ’14) and Thi Q. Lam from spreading love to thousands of people throughout New York City on their Love is Blind spinoff called Love is Quarantine.

While hunkered down in quarantine, the two binge-watched Love is Blind, just before the governor of New York City issued “stay-at-home” orders. This inspired Nix’s roommate, Lam, to recreate the show to connect people and help them adapt to the new COVID-19 dating realties.

“I’m committed to doing my part by staying home, practicing social distancing, and giving back where I am able to do so,” said Nix. “Love is Quarantine has been an awesome opportunity to spread love and get people’s minds off of the pandemic and chaos in the world.”

On March 17, they began setting up friends and mutual friends on blind telephone dates. Participants put their names and numbers in a Google Sheet. From there, Nix texted couples directly and asked them to pick up the phone and have a conversation…and then the dates began!

The show exists entirely on Instagram. After each date, participants record faceless videos that recount their experience.

The social-media based show quickly caught the attention of thousands- including the media. Since the launch, they have aired 9 episodes with over 50 dating contestants. Their Instagram has grown to 18.8k followers and outlets including the New York Times, Forbes and the Washington Post have covered Nix and Lam’s project.

Given their booming popularity, the pair has sold Love is Quarantine merchandise and donated the proceeds to Feeding America.

Full of Georgia spirit and a smile that never wavers, Nix can brighten just about anyone’s day. As an undergraduate on campus, you could find him creating hype songs for game days, on the sidelines cheering at sporting events or campaigning for student government.

Do you know a Georgia Bulldog helping others or their alma mater during the COVID-19 outbreak? We’d love to hear their story!

UGA horticulture expert offers tips on growing vegetables at home

This was written by Bob Westerfield and originally posted to UGA CAES News on April 20, 2020. 

While adults and children spend more time at home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, planting a garden or container garden is a great activity to plan together. It’s outside, active, educational and edible. With some grocery stores taking longer than usual to stock some items, vegetable gardening is a great way to keep your refrigerator stocked.

For those who have never considered growing their own vegetables, the task may seem daunting, but it’s actually a very simple process.

Vegetables need soil, sunlight, moisture and fertility. Any location in your landscape that receives at least six hours of sunlight could be a good location for growing your crop. The amount of space you have available will dictate the size of your garden. Even very small gardens can produce a surprising quantity of vegetables and easily feed a family of four or more.

Squash

Squash plants grow in the UGA Research and Education Garden.

One simple method of getting started is to grow vegetables in raised beds. Treated lumber, two feet by six feet or larger, can be safely be used to form the sides of the bed. Compost, manure or bagged topsoil are good amendments to use to fill the beds.

Soil temperatures have just arrived at the perfect level for planting vegetables. Summer vegetables can be planted between now and June, so there is plenty of time to plant a garden.

I would suggest purchasing transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Theses crops do not establish easily if planted directly into the garden from seed. Other vegetables, such as squash, corn, cucumbers, beans, okra and melons, can be directly seeded into the garden with excellent success.

Eggplant

Take care to plant seeds at the proper depth recommended on the seed packet. Apply a light starter fertilizer, such as 5-10-15, at planting time to give vegetables initial nutrition. More fertilizer should be applied after vegetables have been pollinated and are developing tiny fruits.

Soil testing, available through your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office, is the best way to know the true nutritional needs of your garden soil.

Some form of irrigation will be necessary to help vegetables get started and maintain them through the growing season. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are the best options to conserve moisture and keep plants dry. Overhead irrigation, however, can be used when it is the only option.

Most vegetables require one to two inches of water per week. Raised beds tend to drain much faster and may require additional applications of water. Organic mulch placed around vegetable plants will help conserve moisture and help keep weeds under control.

As the season progresses, keep a careful eye on your developing vegetable plants. Insects, disease and even weeds can take over quickly if not kept in check. Proper identification of the pests is essential in choosing the right control. UGA Extension can help identify pest issues and recommend the best controls.

Don’t let these difficult times keep you down and feeling helpless. Turn your backyard into vegetable heaven and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor. Supplies can be ordered online if you don’t want to don your mask and practice social distancing at your local garden center.

For additional gardening information, visit extension.uga.edu/publications to view numerous related publications. Search the topics for a specific variety you are interested in growing, such as corn, beans, squash, okra, etc. Other suggested publications include:

Home Gardening (Bulletin 577)
Vegetable Gardening in Georgia (Circular 963)
Vegetable Garden Calendar (Circular 943)
Weed Control Options for the Home Vegetable Gardener (Circular 1144)
Raised Beds vs. In-Ground Gardens (Circular 1027-3)
Growing Vegetables Organically (Bulletin 1011)

Bob Westerfield is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Helping Bulldogs feel a little less alone through art

Thanks to Hillary Brown (AB ’00, MA ’10), director of communications for the Georgia Museum of Art, for this guest blog. All images provided by the Georgia Museum of Art.

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia usually hosts tens of thousands of visitors a year with tours and programs, but that’s not possible at the moment. With COVID-19 keeping people in their homes, the museum’s staff, many of whom are UGA alumni, saw an opportunity to serve an even wider audience than usual, bringing programming to visitors rather than the other way around and helping Bulldogs feel a little less alone through art.

Online Exhibitions

The museum worked with Athens firm The Adsmith [owned by Kirk Smith (BFA ’85)] to put existing and upcoming exhibitions online, incorporating 360-degree views of galleries where art was installed. Although these exhibitions do not have the same effect as wandering the galleries in person, they can also stay up indefinitely, reaching a larger group of visitors. The annual master of fine arts degree candidates’ exhibition for the Lamar Dodd School of Art, a tradition dating back decades, was reconfigured into an online format that allowed for greater flexibility and gave graduating students a way to show their work.

The exhibition “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” was only partway through its scheduled run and many people were disappointed to have missed the opportunity to see it. The Richard H. Driehaus Museum allowed the Georgia Museum of Art to use the files from its Acoustiguide tour to create a virtual tour of the show, available on YouTube through May 10.

Other exhibitions available online include “The Monsters Are Due on Broad Street: Patrick Dean” (BFA ’97), “Drama and Devotion in Baroque Rome” and “Rediscovering the Art of Victoria Hutson Huntley,” with more to come soon.

Yoga in the Galleries

Shannon Ball (BSED ’96), co-owner of Five Points Yoga, leads “Yoga in the Galleries” via Zoom.

Online Education Opportunities

The museum’s education staff [Callan Steinmann (AB ’07, PHD ’17), Sage Kincaid (AB ’05, PHD ’22), Emily Hogrefe-Ribeiro (PHD ’22) and Madison Hogan (AB ’18)] has been traveling to the building once a week to stream Yoga in the Galleries and Morning Mindfulness programs via Zoom (while maintaining a safe distance from the instructors teaching those courses!). Presenting them online has doubled the number of visitors participating.

A four-part art class on introductory printmaking techniques also moved to Zoom, allowing the museum to teach new skills and pay local artist Brian Hitselberger (MFA ’10) for his time teaching. Curators have recorded mini tours in the galleries to replace the museum’s usual weekly tour every Tuesday at 2 p.m., and, when possible, planned lectures are being recorded and put online. YouTube’s subtitles and the now-asynchronous format of these programs also increase their accessibility.

Step-by-step images of the creation of styrofoam plate art,

Art at Home: Styrofoam Plate Cityscapes project in conjunction with the exhibition “Rediscovering the Art of Victoria Hutson Huntley.”

Online Programs and Events

Many of the new and revised programs point the way forward to better ways of reaching audiences, such as the museum’s new Art at Home page, which includes simple art projects that can be made with easy-to-find materials. The museum already had downloadable teacher packets on its website, with activities and suggested lesson plans keyed to Georgia Performance Standards in art, language arts, history, science, math, engineering and other disciplines.

Family Day, one of the museum’s most popular programs, has moved online, too, with Art at Home activities and kits that can be ordered for free from Athens’ K.A. Artist Shop, sponsored by Heyward Allen Toyota, Heyward Allen Motor Company and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. The Museum Shop is still fulfilling orders for books, including many of the ones associated with the Tiffany exhibition, and the museum’s blog is updating more often than its usual weekly schedule. Crosswords with the hashtag #museumgames post weekly, and you can find a Daily Inspiration on Instagram Monday through Friday. Weekends bring close-looking activities with interactive components through Instagram Stories. No matter the program, the museum is working on ways to bring it to you and help us all find a window through art.

Donating to the Community

Staff members also went through museum materials, donating personal protective equipment to organizations in need and assembling art kits for Clarke County School District (CCSD) students that could be picked up at CCSD meal-distribution sites. Work continues behind the scenes as well, with preparators framing and unframing art and working to schedule pickups and drop-offs, donations being processed as usual, registrars revising loan agreements and continuing to add objects to the museum’s online collections database (currently at more than 7,000 objects), curators working on reconfiguring the exhibition schedule and writing for upcoming shows, and all busily planning for the future while adapting on the fly.

The best way to keep up with what the museum is working on is to follow its accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Bulldogs answer the call for hand sanitizer

Communities everywhere were feeling the panic. Store shelves were stripped bare. Online orders were backlogged. Hand sanitizer was simply not available. That is, until enterprising and altruistic UGA alumni across the state of Georgia took rectifying the shortage into their own paws!

 

Georgia Pharmacists with compounding labs quickly mobilized into whipping up batches of hand sanitizer:

Dean Stone of IHS Pharmacy & Gifts delivers hand sanitizer to Candler County Sheriff John Miles & his team.” (photo provided by Dean Stone)

Dean Stone of IHS Pharmacy & Gifts delivers hand sanitizer to Candler County Sheriff John Miles & his team.” (photo provided by Dean Stone)

 

Distilleries had alcohol, and with that, they started to produce hand sanitizer:

Kelly and Jim Chasteen with hand sanitizer produced at ASW Distillery. (photo provided by Jim Chasteen)

Kelly and Jim Chasteen with hand sanitizer produced at ASW Distillery. (photo provided by Jim Chasteen)

 

Breweries were not to be left out. They, too, are converting their facilities to bottle up hand sanitizer:

Clean Creature hand sanitizer courtesy of Creature Comforts

(Clean Creature hand sanitizer photo courtesy of Creature Comforts Brewing Company)

Tony SIngletary and Tripp Morgan with Pretoria Fields message of hope

Tony Singletary and Tripp Morgan in front of Pretoria Fields Brewery’s message of hope for the community. (photo courtesy of Pretoria Fields Brewery)

 

All around the Bulldog Nation, University of Georgia alumni are answering the call. Share your stories of Dawgs helping Dawgs!

Accomplished alumnae mentor series goes virtual

This post was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), member of the Women of UGA Council.

Early on a recent Monday morning, a cohort of UGA alumnae prepared their breakfasts, poured their coffee into their favorite mugs, and got together for an inspiring panel discussion. Virtually, of course, each participant joining from their personal computer. It was the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s first Mentorship Monday hosted remotely in this time of social distancing.

The Mentorship Monday series is a unique opportunity for women in the metro-Atlanta area to discuss professional development topics and grow their professional network. Each cohort of approximately 50 participants meets six times, normally in-person, for a breakfast and discussion on leadership and career topics featuring other illustrious UGA alumnae. For this session, the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s Mentorship Committee decided to continue the discussion while keeping all the participants safe by moving the whole event online.

Mentorship Mondays Online

Virtual Mentorship Monday panel: moderator Women of UGA Council Member Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00) and panelists Robbin Steed (ABJ ’85), Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), Christie Diez (ABJ ’12), and Amanda White (MBA ’16)

The latest event featured a panel of women who have built their careers at 11Alive and TEGNA in Atlanta. Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), Christie Diez (ABJ ’12), and Amanda White (MBA ’16) were featured in a panel discussion moderated by Robbin Steed (ABJ ’85) and hosted by Women of UGA Council Member Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00).

With this dynamic group, topics ranged from the importance of mentorship in building and advancing a career, how COVID-19 has affected the work and professional schedules of the panelists, and stories and tips from inside the television and media worlds. Mentorship Monday participants were able to submit their questions to the panel real-time via the ZOOM meeting interface.

Women of UGA Council Member Crystal Filiberto (AB ’07) attended the virtual session and noted that while the usual in-person fellowship was lacking, she appreciated how personal the session still felt. “In a time that we are being asked to cancel events, keep distance between us and our loved ones, and shelter in place, I think people are yearning to find some sense of normalcy and comfort. Connection looks different these days.”

As often happens in Mentorship Monday sessions, Crystal also distilled a valuable takeaway from the speakers: “Don’t wait for a title. You can be a leader from any position.” To her, that meant tapping into compassion and kindness as every person works through the effects of the virus on our communities. “Be a leader from any position, including from my makeshift desk during a pandemic,” she summarized.

The Women of UGA Leadership Committee is committed to creating other opportunities for alums to connect, virtually until in-person meetings are viable and safe. Find out more at the Women of UGA webpage or on their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Andrew McKown (BS ’07) fights COVID-19 in the ICU

Dr. Andrew McKown (BS ’07) walked into the intensive care unit of Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center one morning early in 2020 at 7 a.m. He reviewed patients’ charts, consulted with staff on overnight developments, visited patients and performed a litany of medical tasks that kept him busy until about 7 p.m.

That was three months ago. Today, McKown’s 12-hour day also includes multiple sets of gowns, masks and gloves he must wear all day long, phone calls providing updates to patients’ families who can no longer visit their loved ones, a hooded face shield blowing air in his face and the research required to keep up with a global pandemic.

“It’s … been interesting,” said McKown. “My work has changed dramatically.”

McKown is face-to-face with COVID-19, serving his community in a vital way few can, and his story began at the University of Georgia.

“It’s kind of a family thing”

McKown grew up in East Cobb, near Marietta. He excelled at George Walton Comprehensive High School and applied to several colleges, but after being offered a Foundation Fellowship, he decided on UGA—a decision that was met with strong familial approval.

Andrew McKown's UGA graduation photo, 2007

McKown’s UGA graduation photo

“I come from a huge UGA family: My parents, both of my sisters, two of my mom’s three siblings, my mom’s parents, my mom’s aunt—who studied and taught there—and five of my cousins attended UGA,” said McKown. “It’s kind of a family thing.”

The Foundation Fellowship that attracted him to UGA provided experiences that became the bedrock for the rest of his education and career. Foundation Fellowships are UGA’s foremost undergraduate scholarships, placing students in a community of similarly dedicated scholars and offering numerous grants for travel-study, which McKown used to study in Thailand and Uganda.

In Thailand, he aided and observed medical staff at a rural clinic, and the experience made an impression: When he returned to Athens, McKown directed his focus toward global health and began taking classes at the then-newly founded College of Public Health. His subsequent trip to work at a health center in Uganda built upon this, as did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention internship that used data gathered in Uganda to study costs associated with medical sharps disposal.

A Bulldog in Boston

After graduating from UGA in 2007, McKown applied to and was accepted at Harvard Medical School. For the next four years, he studied at one of the world’s premier medical institutions, broadening his horizons in a big city and meeting people from around the world, including his wife, Ellen House.

The two native southerners—House is from North Carolina—grew their relationship while McKown completed medical school followed by a residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and while House completed a psychiatry residency and fellowship.

In his third year of med school, McKown took a critical care rotation, a choice that would prove pivotal in growing his interest in pulmonology.

“I’ve always been a math and science guy,” said McKown. “I liked the physics of how we could use a ventilator to breathe for people, how exactly it works and how we pick the right settings to use. It fascinated me, so I thought that’s where [my career] might be heading.”

House and McKown at the white coat ceremony marking the beginning of his residency at Mass General

House and McKown at the white coat ceremony marking the beginning of his residency at Mass General

That focus on pulmonology would play a role in McKown’s next step, but another event, in the final year of his residency, played an even bigger role: the birth of his daughter, Georgia.

“Boston was great, but it can be a tough place to raise a family when you’re a long way from [your own family],” said McKown. “We debated what to do, and we thought hard about staying, but we also thought about moving south.”

After some research, McKown, House, and Georgia made their way to Nashville and Vanderbilt University in 2014. This move placed them close to both extended families, and Vanderbilt presented unique opportunities for both young doctors. House joined the psychiatry faculty at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and McKown took a pulmonary/critical care fellowship at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Returning to the Classic City

After completing the fellowship, McKown wanted to find a place he could practice medicine and teach. He enjoyed teaching resident physicians during his fellowship, and House wanted to continue teaching at a medical school. Also,  the family wanted to stay in the Southeast. Fortunately, a connection from McKown’s UGA past opened a door.

Andrew McKown and children on one of Athens' bulldog statues

McKown and children on one of Athens’ bulldog statues

“I reached out to Matt Crim (AB ’05, BS ’05)—someone I knew through the Foundation Fellowship who is now at Piedmont Athens Regional—to find out about his experience. He was positive about Athens, the growing medical community and medical school, and he put me in touch with Athens Pulmonary.”

With that, wheels went into motion. Today, House is a psychiatrist at UGA’s University Health Center and an assistant professor of psychiatry with the Augusta University/UGA Medical Partnership, and McKown is a physician with Athens Pulmonary. The family of four—they now have a young son, Baker—has now been in Athens for close to two years.

“After having been in Boston for seven years and Nashville for four, the first reaction was, ‘Oh wow, [Athens] is so much smaller than I remember,’” McKown joked. “But it’s a really great and positive community. We love where we live.”

In the two years since his return, McKown and his family have made Athens their home, turning neighbors into friends, finding restaurants they like and advancing in their work. House has received awards for her teaching at the medical school, and earlier this year, McKown was named the co-director of Piedmont Athens Regional’s intensive care unit.

“Normally, you know what to do”

But for McKown, the past two months may make the past two years seem much more distant. As COVID-19 swept across the planet, Athens Pulmonary doubled its daily commitment of physicians to affiliated hospitals and overhauled their doctors’ call schedules. And while having an unpredictable daily schedule creates a certain amount of stress, it pales in comparison to the work of treating this disease.

“Normally, when a patient comes in and they have respiratory failure, you know what to do,” said McKown. “[But] when a patient comes in with COVID-19? How we managed it three weeks ago is different from how we managed it last week. I mean, it’s crazy. The shift in medical opinion was great enough that it profoundly changed our management just in the last few weeks.”

McKown also cautions that the world is not out of the woods yet. If we don’t remain vigilant, things could still turn for the worse.

“We have been fortunate here, so far, to not have the crush that they have in New York, and that’s because we’ve had success with social distancing measures,” said McKown. “I’ve talked to friends who practice up there, and it is a whole different world. And it’s a bit of a fear of mine that people will look at our success up to now and still say, ‘why did we do what we did?’

“But I’ve seen people across the age spectrum critically ill, close to death, here in Athens from COVID-19. And if we don’t continue to take the necessary steps to slow the spread of infection, there could be so many of them that we will be strained to take care of them all.”

However, there are reasons to feel positive. McKown said that he’s been deeply impressed with Piedmont Athens Regional’s leadership, having been a part of the many meetings discussing plans and contingencies for the hospital.

“I’m also thankful for the huge outpouring of support from the community,” said McKown. “There are signs all over the hospital from the community that are, essentially, a cheering section for the hospitals. There’s been a number of gifts from the community, like hand-sewn face masks. UGA’s creating face shields. All of these things are amazing, and they are impactful.”

If you know a Bulldog on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, share your story with the UGA Alumni Association.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Offseason Update

Quarantine’s got Jerry playing a six-week-long away game, but that’s not going to stop him from updating you on the Dawgs’ offseason as well as what Bulldog Nation can do to support each other and those around them during uncertain times.

We’re Calling All Dawgs, because Bulldogs know that our greatest strength is each other. Find out more at alumni.uga.edu/covid-19.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

Bulldogs come together during COVID-19 crisis

The University of Georgia virtually celebrated G-Day on Saturday, April 18, and Bulldogs around the country wore their red and black in a show of solidarity. UGA pride swelled as alumni set up at-home tailgates, posted photos and videos of their family, and once again cheered on the Dawgs in the 2019 UGA-Notre Dame game.

The day also marked the launch of the university’s #CallingAllDawgs alumni engagement campaign, a collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread effects it has had on communities near and far. As of April 20, nearly 1,000 donors have answered the call, raising over $250,000.

“Bulldogs need one another now more than ever,” said Meredith Gurley-Johnson, executive director of the Alumni Association. “It’s inspiring to see our family come together to make a difference for those hit hardest by this pandemic.”

This critical funding will support pressing initiatives like the UGA student emergency support, which is assisting students facing significant financial hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis. Support was also raised to fund faculty-led research dedicated to developing and testing a vaccine for the coronavirus and other deadly diseases. And many donors chose to support their affiliated schools, colleges, and departments, helping them continue to deliver their important missions — from educating future leaders to serving Georgia’s small businesses.

Additionally, many alumni and friends are choosing to give their time and expertise by signing up for the UGA Mentor Program. These virtual mentorships will provide critical career and life advice to students and new graduates at an especially tumultuous time.

The #CallingAllDawgs campaign magnifies UGA’s ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19. Students, faculty, staff and alumni continue to make a difference in a myriad of ways — from tutoring young learners across the state to providing meals to food-insecure senior citizens.

To stay up-to-date on how Bulldogs everywhere are committing to helping others during this crisis, visit alumni.uga.edu/covid-19. Or to show your support, learn how you can answer the call by giving your time, money or energy to the cause.

Participate in National Volunteer Week from home

It’s National Volunteer Week! No, this is not a reference to our friends living just northwest of the Georgia state line, but it is a great chance to stop and thank our passionate alumni volunteers, along with everyone who gives their time and talent to the University of Georgia. The engagement of the UGA’s 327,000 alumni and 38,000 graduates rely on the volunteer efforts of many loyal and dedicated individuals. Departments across campus also have awesome volunteers who help carry out important work for the university.

We’d like to highlight our own incredible DGD’s who support the Alumni Association in their communities:

Board members, including President Brian Dill (second from left) back in Athens for a home football game.

Alumni Board of Directors

These 40 graduates represent various class years and professional fields. They meet 3 times a year and attend many events hosted by our team. Board members share their leadership abilities, creative thinking, and access to their personal Bulldog networks to help engage UGA alumni. This group has been crucial to the successful launch of the UGA Mentor Program, taking on one, and sometimes two mentors each!

 

Members of the Black Alumni Leadership Council with Hairy Dawg during the 2020 Alumni Leadership Assembly in Athens.

Black Alumni Leadership Council

Over the last four years, these volunteers have spent countless hours building one of UGA’s most successful alumni giving campaigns: the 1961 Club. More importantly, though, this team has established a strong social media presence and an e-newsletter that keep constituents informed and connected to their alma mater. You also may have heard about our incredible annual Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate that continues to grow. This is just one event that is completely run by our passionate volunteers from this council.

 

Women of UGA Leadership Council members alongside Luke Massee, our UGA Alumni Association staff members who serves as the liaison to this council.

Women of UGA Leadership Council

These volunteers engage our female graduates in the metro Atlanta area in making a difference and growing professionally. They host a signature event in Atlanta each fall that has garnered participation from some of our most beloved graduates: Cookies and Cocoa with Hairy Dawg. This annual holiday gathering completely run by Women of UGA volunteers and continues to grow each year. Women of UGA council members are passionate about making a difference for students and have created need-based scholarships to support students with financial need. Their semiannual Mentorship Mondays feature dynamic alumnae in an intimate classroom setting to share wisdom with fellow graduates.

 

Young Alumni Leadership Council members with special guest and UGA alumnus Chuck Bryant at an event hosted by the Young Alumni Council.

Young Alumni Council

This group of outstanding young leaders meets regularly to determine how to best engage graduates 40 and under in the Atlanta area, of which there are nearly 90,000. This group knows that young alumni are eager to get involved, and their efforts to produce events of all shapes and sizes to meet the social and networking needs of young graduates is commendable. From Trivia Nights, Young Alumni Night at Sweetwater, and Ponce City Market Rooftop Takeover, young alumni in their 20’s and 30’s are sure to find a way to remain connected to their alma mater.

 

Student Alumni Council members at an event the council hosted in Tate Plaza.

Student Alumni Council

There are 40 students volunteering hundreds of hours a year to teach UGA’s student body about UGA traditions, and how they can support their peers while also preparing for life as a UGA graduate. From Freshman Welcome to 1785 Day to the G Book App, these leaders meet weekly during the school year to strategize how they will engage the UGA student community. We are so thankful for all that they do—especially their commitment to serving as student ambassadors at many of our key events throughout the year.

 

Hundreds of alumni chapter leaders flock to Athens each year to attend our annual Alumni Leadership Assembly.

Alumni Chapter Leaders

These volunteers truly give their “all” to UGA! They organize and lead chapters across the world. Chapter leaders organized more than 900 events last year. They dedicate their Saturdays in the fall to welcoming the Bulldog faithful at game-watching parties, and they involve alumni in meaningful community service projects in their local communities. Chapters also raise much-needed scholarship funds for deserving students, plan elaborate social media campaigns, and make themselves available for guidance on city favorites and relocation to their fellow alumni.

 

Kim Metcalf is one of thousands of alumni who are mentoring students through the UGA Mentor Program.

UGA Mentors

This is one of the latest additions to UGA’s menu of alumni volunteer opportunities. More than 2,100 alumni have signed up in the system to mentor, resulting in more than 1,200 mentor-student relationships. We are thankful to these volunteers who take time to provide valuable career and life advice to students. There are countless other groups of alumni volunteers across campus, and we are thankful for every graduate who answers the call to get involved. How can you help? There is no better time than now.

 

As always, you can follow UGA and the Alumni Association on social media to stay informed of ways to volunteer and you can locate your local alumni chapter to meet fellow graduates and connect with them online. In the face of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we are making it easier than ever to give back without leaving your home–from simply sharing stories of alumni helping each other to making a gift to support student emergency funds or coronavirus research, there is something you can do to support our faculty and students.

And in the spirit of National Volunteer Week, we hope you’ll share stories and links to photos of you and your fellow graduates volunteering to support your local communities during this time. THANK YOU for everything that YOU are doing to help others – from your families to your communities.