A heartfelt pat on the back, and a plaque
Tom Sampson, Chief of Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and 2015 Distinguished SAIT Alumnus, presented Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO, with a special plaque on Tues. July 4.
In June 2016, the SAIT community came together and worked around the clock to welcome 400 evacuees from Fort McMurray which was shut down by a massive fire that decimated the northern city.
This was not the first time SAIT had provided emergency shelter — following the destructive floods in 2013, SAIT opened its doors to Calgarians forced to leave their homes.
SAIT's commitment to community didn't go unnoticed. In recognition of SAIT's efforts, Tom Sampson, Chief of Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and 2015 Distinguished SAIT Alumnus, presented Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO, with a special plaque on Tuesday.
"It's an honour to be recognized for the work SAIT did. We wanted to do our part and I'm proud of the people who stepped up. It's about community, and that's what we do at SAIT," says Dr. Ross.
Answering the call
When SAIT took in more than 400 people evacuated from their homes due to the fires — they didn't only find a place to lay their heads — they were enveloped by the entire SAIT community.
As soon as the request to house evacuees was received, SAIT staff worked tirelessly to create a welcoming environment — from food to clean rooms to access to our numerous facilities. Requests for donations of clothing and other goods to support the displaced residents were quickly answered and items soon overwhelmed the collection area in Begin Tower.
SAIT's own Livia Kolbe, Manager of Operations with Commercial Services, says it was incredible to see so many step up to ensure the evacuees from Fort McMurray felt at home.
"Everyone pitched in and worked long hours, sometimes into the middle of the night. It was one of our proudest moments," says Kolbe.
Home away from home
SAIT made an effort to create a homey atmosphere for the families during the crisis and tried to help ease their burden.
Recreation opened up the Campus Centre for evacuees to use the gym facilities, swimming pool and bowling alley. The Reg Erhardt Library had books, board games, computers and phone chargers available, and SAIT Summer Camps staff provided regular camp activities to occupy the kids and provide a break for parents.
Employees across campus also jumped in to assist anywhere they were needed — whether it was packaging up hygiene kits, or coordinating arts and crafts. SAIT aspired to be inclusive and create a place where families could feel taken care. Thanks to the efforts of the entire SAIT community we are one of three post-secondary institutes to receive a plaque of appreciation acknowledging our role.