While the real cost of COVID-19 is painfully apparent to us all, there are hundreds of small impacts of varying degrees of severity that we each experience in some way. One that has come to mind frequently is how this present situation has done a number on all of us in regard to time. It's funny how schedules and routine keep us aware, and this current interruption has each of us, at some point in the week, asking ourselves, “Wait … what day is it?”
Today (Thursday ... I think), I write to make you aware of a very important day coming that I hope we will all remember. May 5, 2020, has been designated as GivingTuesdayNow. You may be familiar with the term already. Typically, GivingTuesday falls on the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving. The initiative is a global generosity movement, created in 2012, to unleash the power of people and organizations in hopes of transforming their communities and the world. Over the past seven years, it has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. In response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, the organization has called on the world for this special global day of giving and unity.
Why is this day important to the Glasscock School? Our school is Rice’s open door to the Houston community. As such, we have taken action to provide timely, relevant resources and support to our community in this time, and we are seeking partners equally as passionate about serving their community.
How are we helping? Here are some of the more noteworthy actions the Glasscock School has taken in response to COVID-19:
- Online Migration. In a matter of weeks, we have moved 135 credit and non-credit spring courses online. We serve a diverse student body, many of which are considered the most vulnerable population. Additionally, many of our students are engaging in our classes to build their careers. Whether personal or professional motivations, our students are committed to their goals, and we are committed to them.
- OpenRICE. This initiative by the Glasscock School offers Rice-quality online education opportunities, free and online, to the Houston community. An educational supplement, these short sessions cover a variety of subjects and serve as a primer into deeper education programs. Initially, our sessions respond to the current health and economic crisis as related to COVID-19, but over time, we will shift content in response to other issues facing our community.
- Professional Course Price Reduction. We have discounted our professional development courses through June 30 by 20 percent to make our offerings more accessible during this difficult time. By adjusting our pricing we can continue to help our students with their career aspirations, even if that looks very different from just a few weeks ago.
- Back in Business. We have partnered with the ION to provide education and insight to small business owners, helping them return to normal operations and recover from the closures. The Back in Business Initiative provides low cost online short-courses and one-on-one consulting for local business owners. Our instructors are donating or offering their time at drastically reduced rates as their part to help Houston get Back in Business. Because of the level of need--for these business leaders to have resources to navigate this new reality and for these businesses to sustain our community--we are committed to offering these courses at a maximum of $25 each, only covering instructor fees and exceptionally lower than the actual value of the courses.
These actions are our first response, tailored to the current environment and the challenges it presents to our community. As this situation continues to evolve, so will our responses. Like you, we love our city and are committed to her service. The actions we have taken derive from that mission--a mission we would like to invite you to be a part of accomplishing. These activities, current and future, fall outside of anything we could have planned for in regard to the hours of effort, the level of expertise and complexity, and in funding. As a completely self-funded entity at Rice, the Glasscock School’s operational cost is covered in two ways: enrollment fees and philanthropic donations. Our efforts to serve our community during this time require not just Rice-quality content, but Rice-caliber compassion, meaning we are committed to keeping the cost of these programs as low as possible, including many that are free. As such, sustaining these efforts necessitates patronage from those who recognize the opportunity and are compelled to be a part. There is a definitive need that the Glasscock School can serve like no other organization, and we hope to accomplish this in partnership with you.
On May 5, GivingTuesdayNow, we are asking our community to help us make sure these critical resources can be sustained and built upon. Together, let’s help Houstonians access education through OpenRICE, Back in Business, and other related initiatives. Make your gift to the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies General Support Fund or the Student Support Fund - Glasscock School. As Houston has done so many times before, we will weather this together. No matter the circumstance and no matter the day, we will do this together. Your gift to the Glasscock School makes this all possible, and for this, we are incredibly grateful.
Dr. Robert Bruce
Dean, Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
P.S. - During these uncertain times, we understand that a financial contribution may not be possible, so I would like to suggest another way to give if a donation is not in your budget. Please consider sending a note to a teacher between today and GivingTuesdayNow, which happens to fall on National Teacher Appreciation Day. This pandemic has brought to light so many heroes that go under-appreciated in our society. One part of that is our educators who are going above and beyond during this unprecedented event. Whether it be a former teacher, a current teacher, a child’s teacher-- please send them a note of appreciation.