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Meeting challenges and opportunities during the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to one of the most challenging times in memory. Yet, despite its challenges, the pandemic has created an opportunity for change.

And, as we have seen since the onset of COVID-19, change is desperately needed.

In addition to threatening the health and well-being of individuals around the world, the pandemic has laid bare longstanding economic, social and racial inequities, with the most disadvantaged among us bearing the greatest health and economic burdens.

During recent months, the world has also borne witness to a political upheaval unequaled in decades, with large-scale protests against anti-Black racism following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

John Zronik

John Zronik

We place a focus on some of these critical issues in the Fall-Winter 2020 edition of Laurier Campus.

Our cover story shines a spotlight on racial justice, examining how racism affects those who experience it in a university setting, as well as Laurier’s determined commitment to make lasting change through equity, diversity, inclusion and Indigeneity initiatives. The university has launched an institution-wide conversation about these crucial undertakings and you are invited to take part.

In “Protecting the hands that feed us,” Laurier Campus profiles the work of faculty members Janet McLaughlin and Jenna Hennebry, who are using their years of research to advocate for the safety of economically vulnerable migrant agricultural workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. McLaughlin and Hennebry's work is helping influence changes to government policy that will serve to better protect migrant workers employed in Canada's agricultural sector.

You can also learn about how Laurier's Alison Blay-Palmer, UNESCO Chair on Food, Biodiversity and Sustainability Studies, is working to help build a better post-COVID-19 society through her leadership of the Building Back Better: Post COVID-19 Task Force. The task force is examining how governments can use infrastructure investments to create a greener, more resilient and sustainable society.

Laurier Campus is also placing a focus on the challenges many students have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Read about how three Laurier students are meeting those challenges with resolve, determination and support as part of the feature story "Staying well in challenging times."

In addition, we highlight the work of Associate Professor Chun (Martin) Qiu, who collaborated with doctors in Wuhan, China to find a technology-based solution to reduce pressure on health-care systems strained due to an influx of COVID-19 patients. Also included is a feature story about House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota (BA '83) and his actions to ensure the business of Parliament continues during the pandemic.

There is little doubt everyone has been feeling the strains brought by COVID-19. Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming. But we can take some comfort in the fact that the Laurier community is playing a significant role in addressing many of the challenges we face, as well as meeting the opportunities presented during this unprecedented time. Our community will continue to do so no matter how long the road to recovery from COVID-19, or how long it takes to achieve a better, more equitable future for all.

John Zronik
Editor, Laurier Campus

To read more articles from the 2020 Fall-Winter print edition of Laurier Campus magazine and new alumni stories between print editions, visit