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COVID-19 Updates, News, University News

Brown announces educational campaign on COVID-19 public health guidelines

Brown Takes Care campaign to focus on community building, compassion

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, August 27, 2020

As some students return to campus and Providence, the University has launched the Brown Takes Care campaign to encourage personal responsibility for public health by providing both physical and online resources to stay safe and maintain the community.

The campaign aims to engage Brunonians on- and off- campus with public health guidelines while staying true to “values that are uniquely Brown,” including a community of care and empathy, said Tanya Purdy, director of BWell Health Promotion and co-chair of the Prevention Education Subcommittee of Healthy Brown 2020.

Through social media campaigns, student-created content and activity kits, Brown Takes Care will urge students to think about their roles in managing the pandemic — as individuals, parts of smaller communities and members of a broader population.

“The campaign is designed for there to be many different entry points and for it to be adaptable” to the range of student living situations — on-campus, in Providence or remote  — Purdy said. 

As other colleges have opened up in different parts of the country, dozens of institutions have struggled to discourage students from socializing in large groups, which have then become clusters of infection. This campaign aims to facilitate the changes in norms necessary for living and socializing while managing the risks posed by COVID-19. 

According to the press release, the campaign is designed to provide “guidance” while “letting community members ‘lead.'” The campaign includes a new Healthy Ambassadors program where staff members will be trained to use “bystander intervention and empathetic communication skills” to protect public health. 

Students in campus leadership positions will also be trained by BWell Health Promotion to use “motivational interviewing” as a technique for encouraging community members to discuss challenges and priorities of keeping everyone safe from COVID-19. In the press release, Purdy anticipated that over 200 peer educators and over 50 Healthy Brown Ambassadors would participate in the training program before Oct. 5.

The campaign will also include outreach efforts that extend into the surrounding Providence community. Brown Takes Care messaging will be placed in advertising space around the city. The Office of Government and Community Relations also held a forum on Aug. 20 to have a conversation with local residents about returning students’ impact on the community. Additionally, the University has created an email for neighbors to raise concerns or give feedback.

Purdy said she hopes that the campaign will provide opportunities for students to have difficult conversations about their presence on the East Side.

The campaign’s resources will be available on the Brown Takes Care website and will include educational worksheets, instructions for students on how they can create a pod, and social media tools like filters, profile photo frames and daily challenges. 

While virtual resources are accessible to everyone, some physical resources are designed specifically for certain groups of students. For example, during the two-week quiet period students living on-campus will receive activity kits that include “resources and ways to still feel connected to the student body, while adhering to the quiet period when they first move on to campus,” said Alexis Jackson ’21, the presidential intern for the University’s Prevention Education subcommittee.

“We’re not looking for any one strategy or one tool to be the thing that makes us successful,” Purdy said. “It’s about being able to have all these different pieces, working in concert with one another so that we can be healthy.” 

Though students returning to campus and Providence are required to complete an educational module and sign a 12-part student commitment to COVID-19 community health and safety obligations, students will not be mandated to participate in Brown Takes Care, according to Associate Vice President for Marketing Communications Carly Kite Lapinski. 

“This isn’t a compliance campaign,” she said. “It’s really tapping into people’s care and compassion for one another so that they can do the right thing and keep the community safe as a whole.”

Listening to the concerns of students and developing the campaign with both staff and students has been a focus since the campaign was conceived in April, Purdy said. 

Maria Guerrero Martinez ’21, undergraduate representative for the Healthy Brown 2020 committee, said she spent a lot of time “talking to students, then voicing all of those concerns in task force meetings.”

The campaign may evolve in the coming weeks and months. “As a public health major working on a public health campaign, it’s shown me that a campaign has to be adaptable and malleable in order to be successful,” Jackson said. 

Purdy agreed that the campaign would have to shift and adapt due to changing public health regulations and outcomes of the fall semester.

“The launch is just the first step,” Purdy said.

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  1. Eugene Icks says:

    “Brown Takes Care,” “BWell,” “Healthy Brown” — who is coming up with these inane and childish slogans? Is there some consulting firm who’s being paid for all this nonsense?

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