CSUCares and Support for High Park Fire Efforts, June 19, 2012
Dear Colleagues and Students,
As we head into another long weekend of fighting the High Park Fire, I want to update you on several recent developments related to the disaster.
- CSUCares: We’ve now established a special fund — CSUCares — to accept donations to help provide emergency assistance to members of the CSU community who have suffered losses as a result of the fire. We already know of a number of people who have lost their homes, and many others are struggling with immediate expenses related to the evacuation, pet boarding, and more. While we also need to be supporting the broader community efforts, CSUCares is one way we can reach out specifically to our own students and colleagues in a way that will truly help them, by providing small cash grants to help with some of their emergency expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. While we don’t expect to come close to covering all the needs that are out there, we want to do what we can — and sometimes even a small gesture can make a difference. Those eligible to apply for support include full- and part-time CSU employees, students, and CSU retirees who have suffered losses in the High Park Fire. An independent committee will move quickly to review applications and award funds to get help to those who need it as soon as possible. While this fund will be used now to assist those impacted by the High Park Fire, it will remain in place to assist those in the CSU community who are impacted by future disasters. To learn more and to donate, please visit: giving.colostate.edu/
- Short-term housing: We have a number of displaced colleagues looking for month-to-month and short-term places to rent in what is already a very tight rental market. If you’re going on sabbatical or traveling and have a home that will be vacant for a couple of weeks or an extended period of time in the coming months, please consider opening it to our evacuees. Contact Lanai Greenhalgh in our Ombuds and Employee Assistance Program, Lanai.Greenhalgh@colostate.edu, and she can help make any possible connections.
- Leave: Many of you have had questions about how to handle leave, both for employees who have been among the evacuees from the fire and those who have been forced to leave work (particularly at the Foothills Campus) because of the smoke and poor air quality. CSU is committed to helping our significantly impacted employees by providing appropriate administrative or special leave as needed to address time-sensitive issues related to evacuation, property loss and damage, firefighting, etc. We want to encourage directly impacted employees and their supervisors or department chairs to contact Employee Relations at (970) 491-MyHR (6947) to discuss leave options. We also want to make it clear that the health and safety of all our employees is important, so we encourage departments to use latitude and compassion in allowing employees in areas with severe air-quality issues to work from home or take sick leave as necessary.
- Incident Command Center and Disaster Recovery Center at CSU: For the past week, we’ve been housing the Incident Command Center at the Foothills Campus and providing lodging for firefighters and evacuees in the residence halls. Starting today, we’ve also opened up space in Johnson Hall for the county’s Disaster Recovery Center, a one-stop shop for evacuees to receive help with housing, insurance claims, and other immediate needs. We’ve blocked off several parking areas and part of the Oval to accommodate this Center, realizing that this will create some parking inconveniences for some of our employees on the northeast side of campus. Detailed information about parking and available lots is at today.colostate.edu/. Thanks for your understanding and willingness to put up with some temporary nuisances as we work to provide this essential service to members of our community in dire need.
- Thank you to staff: Finally, I want to offer special thanks to all those on our staff, including Lanai Greenhalgh and Ken Quintana, who have been working pretty much 24/7 since the start of the fire to provide support on the ground to evacuees and firefighters. This spirit of teamwork and willingness to do what needs to be done is part of why I’m so proud to be part of the CSU community.
Thanks — and let’s keep hoping for rain.
Dr. Tony Frank