More than 35 volunteer faculty and staff members have listened empathetically and offered resources to hundreds of students, parents and supporters who have called the GVSU COVID-19 Call Center.
Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity and executive associate for presidential initiatives, said more than 1,300 calls have been received (plus 200 voicemails from other campus departments) since the call center opened September 4.
Establishing the call center is an extension of the university's partnership with Spectrum Health, Bernal said. Health care professionals staff a 24-hour call center (833-734-0020) specifically for Grand Valley community members with health-related questions; Spectrum Health leaders had asked for assistance with non-health calls.
People who call the GVSU phone number (616-331-4636) have questions related to isolation and quarantine, COVID test results, health guidelines and campus policies. Bernal said many callers are understandably anxious about community safety and the adjustments the university makes to virus patterns.
He said callers welcome clarification and exploration of their concerns by caring Grand Valley volunteers. "We are hoping to achieve the same level of attention students get elsewhere at Grand Valley, which is seen as a place where we work as a team to elevate our shared care for community," he said.
President Philomena V. Mantella extended appreciation to volunteers during a check-in meeting September 17.
"This call center has made a huge difference amid the university's responses to the pandemic," Mantella said. "These volunteers are our best ambassadors who can work with callers who are reaching out for navigational support in unpredictable times. It can be a difficult task and I am grateful to you all."