Hi WURA Members....
Can you believe it's been 5 months since we have all been impacted by COVID - 19. The world as we knew it, changed for all of us around March 12, 2020. When the pandemic started, WURA offered its members personal grocery shopping for those who were not comfortable leaving the safety of their homes. Today, we still have some volunteers performing that very thankful service.....THANK YOU! Hopefully, everyone is safe and following our new "traditions" of washing our hands often, being socially-distant (at least 2 metres) from others, and wearing a mask when outside the home. If we remember to frequently reach out to others, especially those who are alone, by either phone calls or e-mail, that would make us all feel so much better.
I would like to bring you all up-to-date on our upcoming WURA plans. Over the last few months, I have given you a few WURA updates, either through e-mails, on our website or in the WURA Newsletters. We cancelled all WURA activities, including the Spring General Meeting and WURA Executive meetings. Initially, the WURA Executive decided by consensus to communicate by e-mail. Approximately in mid-July, seeing that the campus was going to teach primarily online for the Fall semester and possibly beyond, and still not seeing any solution to the coronavirus except through a vaccine, and seeing more organizations meeting online, the WURA Executive decided to see if we could possibly also meet using an online meeting format. Since IT Services at the University supported Microsoft Teams, we decided to use Teams and had a few "Test" WURA Executive meetings, especially helpful for those Executive members, who had no experience using Teams before, which included me.
Based on previous online meeting experiences, the Executive has decided on a 45-minute only, online WURA Executive meeting in mid-September. Following are the agreed upon agenda ideas by the Executive for our first Teams WURA Executive Meeting.
Our thoughts are that we will only discuss at this Executive meeting those "critical" topics that we would like to make a decision on, to pass on to the WURA membership, especially if we don't have a WURA Fall General Meeting. Because of the current situation with the pandemic, we do NOT think that we should have a Fall General Meeting on campus this year. Also, we don't think that our Executive or most of our WURA membership have enough experience yet to have our Fall General Meeting online on Teams. As a result, we will be asking the WURA membership to accept and ratify the decisions made by the WURA Executive, at this time.
The "critical" topics are
1- In the absence of a Fall General Meeting, the WURA membership will be asked to accept the recommendations coming forward from the Executive Committee. One recommendation could be the proposed positions by the Nominating Committee for the Executive Committee. For now, we will be asking the WURA Executive to function and make decisions for the WURA organization.
2- Nominating Committee Report - Hopefully, the committee has recommended a full slate of Executive positions, especially the V.P.'s position, who will be President-Elect, the Secretary's position, as well as any other missing Director's positions. We have asked Richard Dumala to set up an online WURA members vote for the Executive positions. He will look to use the same survey software that he used for the Volunteer Survey at the end of last year. A mail-in vote may also be done for those members without email access.
3- WURA President's Report - I will fill members in on how the WURA Executive has been conducting business during the pandemic, where after 4 months communicating only by e-mail, the Executive has now decided to communicate online through Teams. The report will also include a summary from the JCC Committee Meeting in February, the WURA Travel Grants results and other information.
A discussion of the WURA Holiday Luncheon will also be required at some point, possibly not at the September meeting, but shortly thereafter at another Executive meeting. The month of September is going to be a time when everyone is monitoring how the University effectively functions. A discussion of the pros and cons of trying to host a Holiday Luncheon this year should be had. Many WURA members feel this is the best WURA activity every year. If there is widespread skepticism about the wisdom of holding this Luncheon, this would give us an idea of how hard we should press forward, since it would involve a lot of serious planning to pull it off.
Other "non-critical" topics. We think a report is only required from these committees at this time, if there is a "significant issue". We should have full reports from these committees later in the year.
1- Treasurer's Report
2- Scholarship/Bursary Fund Committee Report
3- Board of Governor's Pension Committee Report
4- WUFA Contract Committee - Our WURA Pension and Benefits reps will fill us in on the status of the WUFA Contract Committee
5- Social Committee Report
I wanted to inform the WURA membership of the Executive's plans above to keep you all informed. It's unfortunate that we will have to cancel the WURA Fall General Meeting this year, but will inform the WURA members of the Executive decisions on the above "critical" topics on your behalf. If we have a full slate of officers from the Nominating Committee at this time, hopefully, we can conduct both on online and mail-in vote from the WURA membership.
Based on the current pandemic situation in the Windsor/Essex area (we are the last area in Ontario to get to Stage 3, and possibly the last in Canada to get to that level), the WURA Executive will also be discussing if the Holiday Luncheon can be pulled off in December, or possibly even later (next year). We are very reluctant to cancel the Luncheon at this time, because it is the WURA social event that is enjoyed the most by its members. The University is not looking to schedule many events on campus this Fall, and even into the Winter semester.
As a result of the above plans, WURA will not be getting its members together this year, which is completely understandable in this pandemic. But socially, this Fall starting possibly in late September, WURA is trying to schedule a couple social events where local members may participate, only if they feel safe, but be completely socially-distanced (2 metres apart). First, a "WEEKLY WALK FOR THE COVID-WEARY" of about 2 miles (a bit over an hour) will be hosted by Jake Soderlund and Jonathan Bayley. People could either walk on local trails, or on "Urban trails" in the downtown area, whatever participants prefer. For those interested in walking, they could participate, but still be social-distanced. Jake and Jonathan have been walking with a small group this summer. Second, Jake has proposed a Music Jam where people could get together, with their own folding chairs, in the campus quad possibly, (I will have to check with the President), on a Sunday afternoon with 6ft circles set out for participants and audience members. He has done this successfully in North Carolina, where an interested musical group could get together. Jake has a full description of what they have been doing there. If WURA members have other social ideas where members can get together, but be socially-distanced, please let me know.
An issue raised was the liability of WURA scheduling these two social events. Who would ensure that the 6 ft distances would be maintained and who would police these events? The two organizers are both quite confident, as they are already doing these activities socially-distanced. We, as an Executive, will definitely discuss this more fully. If these local social events are held, we will definitely let you know.
I appreciate your feedback on our above ideas. Thank you!
Retired, IT Services
University of Windsor
401 Sunset Avenue
Canada N9B 3P4
Home Phone: (519) 969-2799