AES junior organizes SoK Vaccine Initiative
What started as Trisha Schuver trying to help her 73-year-old mother find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment has turned into an internship to get as many School of Kinesiology faculty, staff, and students vaccinated as possible.
Schuver is an Applied Exercise Science junior and the organizer of the School of Kinesiology Vaccine Initiative, an effort to assist the Kinesiology community with getting COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The process for the initiative is simple: an individual completes a survey to request help with finding and scheduling the vaccine. Schuver then takes the information and finds an administering location, whether it be a pharmacy or supermarket, within the selected time radius of the individual’s address.
Schuver said it was important for her to stay within the selected timeframe, especially for students because they may need to rely on public transportation to travel to their vaccine.
“Before Michigan was fully open to everyone, we were sending some people to Ohio,” she said.
With the blessing of Kinesiology Dean Lori Ploutz-Snyder, Schuver worked with multiple faculty and staff to develop the survey and distribute it across the entire school. Kathy Kern, the faculty member who coordinates AES internships, said none of this would have been possible without Dean Ploutz-Snyder’s support and enthusiasm.
Movement Science senior Eden Buell immediately reached out to Schuver for help after the initiative launched. Buell had been quarantining at home because she takes care of her elderly mother.
“I was so excited when I got that email because there was someone out there who could help me get a vaccine. Trisha got my information, and all I had to do was show up,” Buell said. “Everything was kind of up in the air. I didn’t know if I was going to qualify and where and when I was going to get my shot. Trisha took all of the guesswork out of it. I can’t tell you the amount of relief I feel right now.”
Schuver said she wants to get back to in-person learning during the fall semester. “I don’t want this to go on any longer than it needs to, and if you’re able to get the shot and want the shot, I’ll get you the shot,” she said.
A transfer student from Monroe Community College, Schuver said the Applied Exercise Science program was a perfect fit for her because it had all of components of health degree without having to go into something like physical therapy. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in public health.
“I absolutely love the AES program. The students and staff are all amazing, wonderful, kind, and generous people. I haven’t met a person there I didn’t like. I think the program is awesome,” she said.
While most people don’t think of a vaccine initiative as something applicable to an exercise science program, Kern pointed out that this is a great example of community wellness.
“When we first started AES, we all thought it was about gyms, corporate wellness, and all of those kinds of things. The program has been able to flex and evolve into a larger focus on wellness because of COVID. It’s wellness from all angles, not just physical activity, nutrition, and mental health,” Kern explained. “People have been suffering mentally and physically because we’re in COVID and don’t have that three-dimensional interaction with people. Once you get the vaccine, it helps your mental wellness. So this initiative broadens that exercise science space into a whole-person wellness space.”
Kern thinks this was the perfect opportunity for Schuver to learn how to collaborate with different people within an organization like the School of Kinesiology. She learned how to work with human resources to make sure everything was processed correctly and confidentially; with communications and marketing to help promote the initiative; and how to set up and track a multi-layered process.
Kern also noted that Schuver brought on additional students to assist her with scheduling because the demand so was high, so this taught her how to manage people, as well.
Schuver has helped more than 150 students, faculty, and staff to date.
Buell urged anyone who is interested in getting the shot to reach out to Schuver. “Finding a shot by yourself is a difficult process, and Trisha made it much easier,” Buell said.