UD’s ‘Marianist Spirit in action’ at COVID-19 teach-in

Dr. Joe Valenzano, who organized the event, speaks at an afternoon session of the teach-in. Photo courtesy of Olivia Shirk.

Kaitlin Lewis | Online Editor-in-Chief 

Ren Sikes | Opinions Editor

Roughly 1,300 students attended the COVID-19 vaccine teach-in hosted by the University of Dayton on Sept. 15 to address the common misconceptions surrounding the coronavirus vaccine.

Staff and faculty members held a full day of 30-minute teach-in sessions with topics ranging from the science behind vaccines to what the Catholic Church says about vaccinations. Students who attended one or more of the sessions were able to receive PATH point credit by registering for the event online and filling out a short form afterwards. 

Read more: University to hold PATH-eligible vaccine clinic, teach-in to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations

Dr. Christopher Brough, a political science professor at UD, spoke at a session titled “Why Mandates are Legal.” Brough told Flyer News that he was excited by the number of students who attended sessions throughout the day, including his own, which addressed a topic that much of the country is divided on. 

“While you might not agree that mandates should be used, it’s still important to know that mandates have been a common part of our constitutional heritage and a common use of power by the state, local and national governments,” Brough said. 

“Even if you don’t agree with it, it’s still important to know that they still have that authority to use,” he added.

Students chose to attend the teach-in sessions for a variety of reasons. While some were excited about the opportunity to receive PATH credit, others told Flyer News that they were interested in learning more about COVID-19 vaccines themselves so they can better educate peers who are hesitant to be vaccinated.

Brooke Serbin, a junior at UD, said she chose to attend Brough’s session because the topic not only interested her personally, but seemed relevant. 

“I feel like that’s a big issue in getting more people to take the vaccine, is having legal backing for it,” Serbin said.

First-year Julia Fabian echoed Serbin, and said she hoped to be better educated on how to protect herself and others. 

“I think it’s really important that we all follow covid procedures and stay safe and be a good member of the community,” Fabian said.

In addition to the teach-in, the university also held two drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Sept. 15 and 16. Students, faculty and staff had the option to stop in with an insurance card to receive a vaccine.

According to Robin Oldfield, the associate vice president of audit, risk and compliance and chief risk officer at UD, around 45 people received a vaccine between the two clinics. Many attendees, such as Serbin and Fabian, were already vaccinated. 

Oldfield said that the overall energy of the day was positive from both students and UD faculty and staff, and that many students seemed engaged with the variety of topics that were offered.

“The teach-in was a great example of the Marianist Spirit in action where faculty, staff and students worked together for the common good by providing a valuable educational and interactive experience as well as an opportunity to receive the vaccine,” Oldfield said in an email to Flyer News.

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