Recognition Round-Up

May 4, 2020
A weekly report of Spiders at their best

Each week during the University's modified operating status, HR will collect stories about the amazing work that faculty and staff have done to transition to remote classes and work, to maintain the campus during a pandemic, and to contribute to our greater community. Submit your stories to

Sasha Hollister Makes Remote Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Possible

Sasha Hollister, manager of community relationships and UR Downtown for the CCE, has been working diligently behind the scenes with the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg to transition to virtual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) in order to continue to provide this valuable service to our community and enrich student learning.

Before COVID-19, the VITA site at UR Downtown processed at least 163 tax returns with the support of students from the Robins School of Business. Sasha and other volunteers will continue this work through the summer, showing how committed the University is to this program and to community-based learning.

- Bonner Center for Civic Engagement team

Admissions Team Transitions to Virtual Recruiting

Through various means, the Office of Admission continues to work with admitted and deposited applicants and their families, impressing upon them UR’s value proposition. From hosting virtual open houses to conducting virtual high school visits and college programs, the team remains focused and determined. Kudos to each admission team – Communications, Data Management & Technology Services, Diversity & Outreach, Off-Campus Programs, Slate, and Visitor Experience!

To be sure, it takes an entire community to recruit academically-talented and diverse students and the generous support of faculty, staff, students, and alumni have been nothing short of amazing. During the past four weeks, faculty, staff, and current Spiders were featured in 15 live online broadcasts, created over 20 YouTube videos, hosted over 40 virtual departmental drop-ins, and “spoke” at virtual open houses.

As they were receiving congratulatory emails and calls from alumni volunteers, our future Spiders and their families also heard from President Crutcher multiple times. Recently, Dr. Crutcher and Vice Presidents Stephanie Dupaul and Steve Bisese, and AVP and Director of Financial Aid Chip Bryan hosted a webinar attended by over 500 admitted and deposited applicant and their families.

- Gil Villanueva, Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission

Residence Life, Housing, & Post Office Pack & Ship Documents

Starting March 16 and still ongoing, the Area Coordinator staff, Bryan Field, Anna Lacy, Molly Lewis, Christina Qawasmy, and Shelby Suffridge, have been working daily to respond to over 300 requests by students for academic, medical, and other important documents. We have been working very closely with the staff in the Post Office. I am very grateful to Tim Dorsey and his staff for their assistance as we worked to get all items mailed to students, at the University's expense, with two-day shipping.

- Patrick B. Benner, Director, Residence Life & Housing

Support Services Staff Packs & Stores Gray Court and Lora Robins Court 

Gray Court has been packed and stored this week, and Lora Robins Court will be completed the week of May 4. The University Support Services staff led by Sam Lloyd and including Ryan Phillips, Jonathan Williams, Noel Brooking, Cliff Wingfield, Matt Cumby, Michael Carpenter, and Scott Atkins have been instrumental in this process, as we are working with Quality Moving Services to complete this process. I am very grateful to them for their assistance in this large endeavor. All items in student rooms are being packed in accordance with the packing guidance forms they provided and stored safely and securely in on campus locations.

- Patrick B. Benner, Director, Residence Life & Housing

Residence Life & Housing Survey Approved Residents for Summer Housing Needs and Develop Plans for Quarantine Spaces

Of the fifty students approved to remain on campus, the Residence Life & Housing team have surveyed those that need to stay for an extended period or be housed all summer. Some will be housed all summer, while most for a period of time that is yet to be decided, as travel arrangements for many of these students is still uncertain. All students that are currently housed on campus are being granted free room and board for extended housing and Summer Term I. All students will be moved into Gray Court starting May 18, following shut down and building preparation procedures that will be completed by University Facilities, in an effort of consolidation while allowing the University to preserve energy and resources in all other residential areas.

At this time, I am leading a sub-group to identify isolation and quarantine spaces that can be utilized for the next academic year. This group is looking at many options, including University-owned homes and spaces that can be converted and/or adjusted for appropriate accommodations. We are also exploring options with modular home companies. Should we have a need for such housing, we want to be as prepared as we can be while having these spaces near and on campus so that we can appropriately support and assist any student that may need to be housed within them. We will not be isolating or quarantining students in any residential facility on campus. In addition to this, the team is working on several housing plans for next year that include de-densifying certain areas if needed. For this, we are also in conversations with modular home companies and exploring hotel options as well.

- Patrick B. Benner, Director, Residence Life & Housing

Dr. Trey Sutton & Nancy Propst Receive Sustainability Leadership Awards

The Office of Sustainability held the annual Sustainability Banquet virtually. Dr. Trey Sutton, Assistant Professor of Management, and Nancy Propst, Administrative Coordinator for Geography, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies received Sustainability Leadership Awards in recognition of their excellent contributions to sustainability. 

Read more.

Campus Operations

Read all recognition of the Campus Operations team here.

HR COVID-19 Resources

HR Interim Policies

HR COVID-19 Benefits Resources

Remote Work Resources

Supervisor COVID-19 Resources


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