6 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
Indiana’s mask mandate has been lifted, but face coverings will not be leaving everyday life anytime soon.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced March 23 that the statewide mask mandate would end on Tuesday, April 6. However, local governments, such as Marion and Johnson counties, can continue to enforce their own mask mandates.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced March 25 that Marion County’s mask mandate will continue beyond April 6.
“It’s too early to abolish it in the state's most populous city,” Hogsett said in a virtual press conference. “Marion County has had a stressful month as thousands were in Indy for the March Madness NCAA Tournament. While the city is reaching goals like a lower positivity rate and lower cases, Indianapolis needs more time before restrictions are lifted.”
Holcomb also signed executive orders to end the crowd size and other restrictions meant to keep social distancing in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Private businesses will still be able to set their own rules and regulations regarding restrictions and mask mandates.
Indiana opened the vaccination eligibility up to anyone above sixteen-years-old on March 31. This makes 5.4 million Indiana residents able to be vaccinated.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health dashboard, over 1.1 million Indiana residents have been fully vaccinated as of Friday, April 2.
Although Hoosiers are able to be vaccinated, COVID-19 numbers are rising. The state department of health’s COVID-19 tracking showed a weekly average of 938 new cases for the first week of May. This is up from an average of about 750 new cases in mid-March.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise individuals who are fully vaccinated to continue wearing facemasks in public, when around unvaccinated people from multiple households and when around those who may be at high-risk. This is due to the fact that health officials are still trying to fully understand the virus and the vaccinations impact on the spread of the virus.
On Friday, Indiana University announced that it will begin offering vaccination appointments exclusively to its students and staff.
Those at IU Bloomington and IUPUI will receive links through emails and text messages from the health department to schedule their appointments.
“The vaccines can only end the pandemic if all who are able to get vaccinated do so as quickly as possible,” IU President Michael McRobbie said. “As part of our leadership during this crisis, IU will continue to fully employ its extensive health sciences resources to support our state's vaccination efforts, encourage all Hoosiers to get vaccinated, and address questions about vaccine safety and efficacy.”
IU Bloomington is expected to receive between 11,000 and 15,000 doses of the vaccine and IUPUI is expected to receive 5,000.
The first round of vaccinations for students and staff will be held the weeks of April 5 and April 12, and the second doses are scheduled to be offered the weeks of April 26, May 3 and May 10.
Those who are eligible for the vaccinations can schedule an appointment by visiting https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.
The Indianapolis Zoo began its spring-cleaning season March 13 by hosting Power Recycling Day, presented by Technology Recyclers. This event gave participants the opportunity to dispose of their clutter and old electronics in an environmentally friendly way.
In the zoo’s parking lot, visitors could bring old electronics for proper disposal, which was aimed to keep harmful pollutants out of local landfills. Most electronics, such as video game systems, cell phones, laptops, computers, tablets and more were accepted free of charge. Televisions and monitors were accepted for a $20 fee.
Staff from Technology Recyclers, a local Indianapolis electronics recycling company, were on-site to help unload the electronics from participant’s cars. As a way to show their gratitude for donating, the Indianapolis Zoo gave out coupons for a discounted admission.
“The zoo, first and foremost, is a conservation organization,” Melanie Laurendine, Indianapolis Zoo conservation PR specialist, said. “We want to not only educate people about conservation, but give them actionable ways that they can help the environment.”
Electronics trash, called e-waste, only makes up 2% of trash produced annually in the United States. However, it contributes to about 70% of the environmental pollutants. Consumer interest in recycling their old electronics has seen a decline within the last few years.
A report released in 2019 by the United Nations showed worldwide production of e-waste is 50 million tons annually and is predicted to reach 120 million tons by 2050. According to a recent EPA study, in 2014 nearly 42% of U.S.-generated e-waste was being recycled. However, that number had dropped to less than 36% by 2017.
“This gives people a way to help the environment while only making small lifestyle changes in order to make it as easy as possible for them,” Laurendine said.
The zoo takes a leadership role in this challenge by hosting two Power Recycling days a year, and also recycling as much waste as possible. From recycling plastics and office paper to tree trimmings and animal bedding materials, such as straw and wood chips, the zoo makes sure to make bettering the environment a priority.
On average, the Indianapolis Zoo recycles more than 102,000 pounds of materials annually that otherwise would go to area landfills.
The zoo will be holding another Power Recycling Day this fall for those who would like to help contribute to keeping the environment clean and make a world of difference.
IUPUI parking passes will soon undergo a transformation as the campus loses the plastic permits and goes virtual.
Parking and Transportation Services will be changing from parking passes to a license plate recognition system in order to enhance customer experience, simplify the permit renewal process, locate available parking and operate more productively and practically without any additional costs to IU parking pass holders.
License Plate Recognition (LPR) is a virtual system that includes multiple aspects of parking operations into one by essentially using permit holders’ license plates as their parking permits. It does this by using cameras and character recognition software in order to read the license plates.
LPR vehicles will patrol parking lots and garages for the purpose of validating pass holders’ plate information with the parking permit database to make sure parking privileges and regulations are being followed.
“LPR works similar to a supermarket scanner with your license plate functioning as the barcode,” IUPUI Parking and Transportation Services Director, Sheri Eggleton, said. “When a vehicle is parked on campus, the rear license plate is captured by cameras mounted on Parking and Transportation Services vehicles. When read, the numbers of your plate are automatically referenced against the parking database to verify proper parking privileges for the parking location.”
LPR goes beyond just replacing students and staff’s parking permits. The cameras on the enforcement vehicles and in garages will also count open parking spaces creating real-time parking options for pass holders. These counts of open parking spaces will be transferred to an app so that anyone can check at any time, which will maximize space in campus lots and garages.
Parking and Transportation Services have prioritized the privacy and safety of their customers during the decision making process. The only information kept in the database is a picture of the vehicle’s license plate. The information will not be shared with other departments or outside establishments, unless required by law. All license plate photos will be deleted after 120 days of being taken.
“IU Parking Operations obtained all approvals required to proceed with this portion of the project,” Eggleton said. “The LPR technology vendor went through the standard approval processes including a legal, policy and security review on privacy.”
The system will be executed gradually, in phases, over the next 3-5 years. Phase 1 is set to begin this spring and will allow the university to implement the technology and evaluate the ability of LPR to recognize license plates to operate entry and exit gates.
“IU Bloomington has already begun to test LPR on its campus. This is part of an overarching enterprise effort to introduce technology to continually improve the customer experience,” Eggleton said.
Once the system is fully tested and set in stone, parking renewals and registrations will be purchased exclusively online. Students, staff, and visitors will no longer have to visit the parking office or wait for their permit to arrive in the mail, reinforcing IUPUI Sustainability’s initiatives by eliminating the production of plastic parking permits.
To help with the testing and installation of LPR, students, staff, and visitors are encouraged to keep their vehicle information up to date through the online parking portal and pull forward into parking spaces to ensure license plates are visible.
To learn more about LPR, visit here. A list of FAQs is available to help answer any questions.
Throughout the last year, the under-appreciation and mistreatment of African Americans in government and other places of power have been recognized and fought against. Each February, Black History Month gives a chance for us to celebrate, acknowledge and appreciate African Americans and look back on their history in our country. From actresses to politicians to researchers, let’s take a look at some powerful and inspiring Black women from the last few years.
Viola Davis: Viola Davis: Viola Davis is an actress best known for her performances in ‘How to Get Away With Murder,’ ‘The Help,’ and ‘Fences.’ In 2015 she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role on How to Get Away with Murder, making her the first female African American to win this award. She is also the first female African American EGOT, which is the title given to those who are awarded with an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony throughout their career.
Marsai Martin: At just 10 years old, Marsai Martin starred in the hit TV show on ABC, “Blackish.” At age 12 she starred in her first film, “An American Girl Story - Melody 1963: Love Has to Win.” One year later she landed a role in the film “Little,” and was named as the film’s executive producer, making her the youngest in history. Guinness World Records has even recognized her for this achievement.
Adut Akech Bior: South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech Bior was featured in 2019 on Time’s 100 Next List, making her the only model for that year to make it. She made her modeling debut by walking for Saint Laurent during Paris Fashion Week in both 2017 and 2018. However, before she was given the chance to model, she was a South Sudanese refugee. She has now recently teamed up with the United Nations to help other refugees.
Kamala Harris: Kamala Harris is the current Vice President of the United States. She is not only the first ever black vice president, but she is also the first female vice president. She started out as a deputy district attorney and eventually worked her way up to an assistant district attorney and became the chief of the Career Criminal Division. In 2004, Harris became the District Attorney in San Francisco. While DA, she instituted a Hate Crimes Unit, dedicated to hate crimes against LGBTQ+ teens and children. In 2011, she became the Attorney General of California. Then, in 2017, she was elected to the Senate until 2020, where she then was selected to be Joe Biden’s Vice President.
Dr. Shirley Jackson: Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. from MIT and only the second black woman to earn a doctorate in physics. In 2015, former President Obama awarded her with the National Medal of Science. She is the founder and president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), which makes her the first black woman to lead a top-ranked research university. Since starting RPI in 1999, she has raised over $1 billion for philanthropic causes.
Allyson Felix: Allyson Felix is an American track and field sprinter, and also one of the most decorated track and field athletes in history with nine Olympic medals. Six of her medals are gold, which is the most of any female track and field Olympian. Recently Felix has been fighting for the rights of new mothers and the protection they receive. In 2018, she gave birth and as a brand new mother, went on to impressively win gold at the World Championships. However, after giving birth, Nike offered her a 70% pay cut. Since this, she has been very vocal about the mistreatment she encountered and voices her concerns about the treatment of new mothers everywhere.
London Breed: London Breed was raised in poverty in San Francisco, California. However, she worked her way up in the government from District 5 supervisor to president of the Board of Supervisors. In 2018, she became the city’s 45th mayor, and the first female African American mayor. Breed has made homelessness and poverty two of her main priorities while in office. In 2020, she announced her plans of building 1,000 shelter beds. Other topics that have been a priority for Breed are mental health and substance abuse.
Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole: Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole is an educator, anthropologist, museum director, and college president. From 1987 to 1997 she became the first black female president of Spelman College. She has also been the Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. In 2019, she spoke in the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans.
Raquel Willis: Raquel Willis was previously a national organizer for the Transgender Law Center. In 2018, she created Black Trans Circle, which is a foundation that promotes leadership for black transgender women in the South and Midwest. In 2020, she earned a GLAAD Media Award for her Out Magazine piece titled, “The Trans Obituaries Project.” This piece recognized the trans women of color who lost their lives in 2019.
Gabrielle Union: Actress, activist and author Gabrielle Union took a stand against America’s Got Talent for their toxic work environment in 2020. She filed a harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing. She is also known for being an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and has voiced her support of therapy and mental health awareness.
According to the IUPUI Covid Dashboard, the percentage of positive Covid-19 cases of IUPUI students increased from 4.94% in August to 30.46% in November, making the year look very different for members of IUPUI’s Zeta Tau Alpha.
“This year recruitment was on zoom over two days from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The girls singing up were assigned a room to log onto for the different chapters they wanted to visit. Everyone stayed in the comfort and safety of their homes,” Zeta Tau Alpha member, Alexia Pero, said.
This experience was very different from what ZTA members in the past have seen.
“Normally our recruitment is the first weekend of September and there are typically over 200 girls that sign up,” Pero said. “All of the sororities have a room in the campus center that they decorate. The girls who signed up for recruitment are split into groups and rotate between the different rooms in order to get a feel for each sorority. Then they select which they would like to be in.”
With recruitment being online this year, the sorority saw a decrease in IUPUI females who wanted to participate.
“Once it was announced that the year would be virtual over zoom, sign up numbers decreased a lot,” Zeta Tau Alpha’s president Ashley Elkin said. “This was probably one of the smallest recruitments IUPUI Panhellenic has had over the last five years.”
However, Zeta Tau Alpha found a positive within all of the negatives seen this year.
“We have had the best retention of the women we recruited this year than in previous years. We have had 20+ women stay dedicated to the chapter since joining virtually in September and October, which is awesome. Normally in the past we have not had as good of retention,” Elkin said.
Zeta Tau Alpha is typically known for their exciting high energy events and fundraisers.
“Normally we have Big Man On Campus, which is a male talent show where the fraternities learn dance routines and compete against each other to raise money for Breast Cancer Education and Awareness,” Pero said. “We also usually have an event called Tackle the Cure, which is a flag football tournament that also raises money for breast cancer education and awareness. At these events we also have breast cancer survivors that talk about their journeys.”
Unfortunately, due to the 2020 circumstances, the girls had to brainstorm different events to hold in place of their old traditions.
“We did have to cancel all of our scheduled in-person events this semester, but one of my favorite events we held was a virtual 5k marathon,” Pero said. “Everyone downloaded a Nike running app and ran on their own time. The app virtually tracked their progress, which was pretty cool. We ended up raising $2,000 in one day for Breast Cancer Education and Awareness. We also posted bingo cards that had different dollar amounts on the board onto social media as a fundraiser, and when people donated we marked off the specific dollar amount and tried to get bingos.”
Many IUPUI students join sororities and fraternities in order to make new friends and experience new things, but with everything being held virtually, the girls are left missing the socialization and each other.
“I commute from home, so I’m already on campus a lot less now because most classes have moved to either completely virtual or hybrid. I haven’t been seeing as many people, and I really miss the face-to-face aspect,” Pero said. “I don't live in Indianapolis, and since ZTA isn’t doing any events on campus, I’ve been missing the environment a lot more too. I miss all of the energy and the people I’ve grown so close with.”
Finding different methods for bonding and chatting has been an important task the sorority leaders have faced this year.
“We have been relying on GroupMe and Zoom for a lot. We have constant conversation in our chapter GroupMe. We also have weekly chapter meetings, sisterhoods and other events through Zoom. My responsibility as president was to oversee all of the women and lead the weekly executive council and chapter meetings,” Elkin said.
Although they have found different apps that have helped them stay in contact, the girls have had to put in extra effort when it comes to keeping in contact.
“At first we did struggle with staying connected since we were very used to face-to-face connection building,” Elkin said. “However, sisters that have been in the chapter really stepped it up by reaching out to the new members through GroupMe, Zoom, FaceTime, and texting. Since this has been our best round of new member retention, I can tell it’s been working.”
The pandemic has caused many people worldwide to experience more mental health issues like depression and anxiety from being forced to stay at home alone for months.
“Our sisterhood chair started a mental health hour where once a week we can hop on to chat about anything on our minds, bothering us, or just listen and give advice to others. It has brought us a lot closer,” Elkin said.
Although things are very different, the sisters have been encouraged to think positive and make the most out of the circumstances.
“We still do have so many ways to communicate and bond with each other, so I’m thankful for that. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t talk to them at all,” Pero said. “Everyone has done such a great job with handling the pandemic and there have still been plenty of virtual opportunities to meet new people and stay connected. Talking in the GroupMe really helps.”
The sorority is still under Covid-19 restrictions and are unsure of when the CDC and campus policies will allow them to return to normalcy.
“I loved the big social gatherings like formals, philanthropy events, and in person chapters with my sisters. It was so much fun to all be together. I hope that those can return sometime soon in a safe way,” Elkin said.
Sophomore Mitchell Schuessler had the rest of his college years planned out. However, Covid-19 had other plans for him.
“I was commuting to IUPUI and still living at home with my parents. I had just gotten closer to some friends who were going to Ball State though, and we had planned for me to move in with them during the summer and transfer schools,” Schuessler said. “I was working at a local gym to save up money to move out but when COVID hit, my hours at work got cut tremendously. Due to this, I was unable to save up enough money to be able to move out and my plans to transfer to Ball State were ruined.”
Schuessler, who is enrolled in five classes at IUPUI this semester, was disappointed at first but tried to keep a positive attitude about the situation. Ultimately, he was able to find the silver lining.
“I knew that everyone was handling the pandemic the best that they possibly could and while it was upsetting, I felt lucky to be able to keep my job in general after hearing tons of stories and knowing many people who completely lost their jobs,” Schuessler said. “I’m also happy I ended up staying at IUPUI because the way they have handled the virus has been really well. Students can tell the staff really cares about them and that they are doing everything they can to ensure students are safe. I couldn’t imagine being at any other university.”
Instead of having their work hours cut due to the pandemic, some students, such as junior Ashley Brown, have struggled with having too many. This leaves them with little to no time for school.
“I’m taking four online classes and I TA for four class sections as well, which adds up to 18 credit hours this semester. I also have a job at a grocery store, and it was a lot trying to keep up with all of those classes plus a work schedule, Brown said. “I’ve taken online classes before here and there so the setup is nothing new to me. I just feel as if having all online classes makes it more difficult and I have to really focus at home, which can be hard to do.”
A few weeks into the semester Brown looked into a student leave program, which allows her to either not work for the whole semester but keep her job, or to come in whenever she is available. She essentially gets to create her own schedule.
“It’s been really nice being able to be a part of the program because I felt as if so much stress was lifted off of my shoulders,” Brown said. “Trying to keep up with my work schedule didn’t leave me as much time as I needed for school work and I was constantly feeling overwhelmed. Finding out about student leave was a lifesaver.”
There are some students who lucked out and have figured out how to have a healthy balance between their work and school lives amid the virus.
“This semester I’m taking 15 credit hours while also having a job at a nursing home doing office work. My parents technically run it so they know how tough school can be and are very flexible with my schedule,” junior Chandler Warnick said. “School has been taking up more of my time this semester since all of my classes but one are online due to COVID-19. I have to work harder and pay more attention to detail. There are lots of distractions compared to being in a classroom too. It’s nice having a workplace that understands how exhausting COVID and online learning are for students.”
While he is balancing work and school well, Warnick is finding himself stressed out in other areas of his life.
“Trying to make time with family and friends is more difficult now. Now that I’m home all the time, my family thinks I have the time to be involved more when I really can’t,” Warnick said. There are times when my younger siblings want me to come out of my room to watch a movie or do other things with them and I’ll have to explain that just because I’m home a lot more doesn’t mean I don’t have as much work to do.”
Students are learning the importance of boundaries and making sure they have time to themselves to decompress during these stressful times.
“During quarantine I was alone so much that it drove me crazy,” Brown said. “I’m a naturally social person, so going back to school and work excited me. After a while I realized that I need to not go overboard and still have that alone time. Now I make sure I have one to two nights a week to just do the hobbies that I enjoy.”