SUU Students Inspire Rural Employers to Stay Safe

Published: March 22, 2021 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

Stay Safe to Stay Open campaign Over a six-week period this fall, Southern Utah University students made over 10,000 calls to inspire employers throughout the state of Utah to do their part in supporting the health and safety of their communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic negatively affecting businesses across the state, the goal of both the students and the Stay Safe to Stay Open campaign is to help businesses make informed decisions to keep their local economy open and running.

“From this experience, I have been able to listen and communicate to the community about their feelings towards the pandemic we are living in today,” said student Kaysha Herfel. “I have met amazing business owners, employees, and people who have served our community in the best ways.”

Stephen Lisonbee, assistant vice president for the Office of Regional Affairs at SUU, recognized both the importance of helping Utah address the health and economic objectives, and the opportunity for students to serve their local community. Lisonbee applied for a grant from the Stay Safe to Stay Open campaign to financially support the efforts of the students.

As a part of these rural communities, the student team was dedicated to the job and helping employers learn more. After a training period, students spoke directly with thousands of business owners sharing the Stay Safe to Stay Open pledge. Businesses were asked to keep themselves, their employees and the community safe and businesses open by following health and safety guidance from the Utah Department of Health including:

  • Check symptoms before work and stay home when sick.
  • Wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our face and eyes.
  • Practice social distancing including wearing face coverings in close common areas.
  • Learn about high-risk groups and help protect them.
  • Cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces frequently.
  • Follow public health guidance as updated.

“One of the most enthusiastic responses I received was from a Utah school district,” said student Jason Graf. “They had already been discussing the initiative earlier that day and were happy to have me give them some information before joining.”

During the campaign the team made over 10,000 calls, with the busiest day including 483 calls. The 14 students reached up to 25 pledges per day, with 253 pledges throughout the six weeks.

“It was really amazing to see how hard the students worked,” said Natalie Christensen, community education coordinator at SUU and student leader. “They are very motivated to share the message and want to support their local community and keep everyone feeling safe.”

The statewide Stay Safe to Stay Open campaign hopes to meet the imperatives of helping Utah address the health-related objectives to prevent and recover from the coronavirus while at the same time assisting the business community in an effort to appropriately strengthen our state’s economy. Visit for more information.

Tags: Regional Services

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication