In a series of online gatherings, President Ignacio Sánchez has met with UC graduates from around the world with the purpose of strengthening the connection between them and the university. First, an open meeting was held, in which Dr. Alexis Kalergis, a key actor in the Chilean vaccination process, also participated. Additionally, smaller meetings with alumni from different schools are being organized.
UC alumni from all around the world have been participating in online meetings with President Ignacio Sánchez to talk about the role Universidad Católica has had and is having in both the pandemic and in the process of rewriting the constitution, which is about to begin.
These activities have the purpose of strengthening the connection between the graduates and the institution. “When we approach our former students, they reenchant themselves with their university life, and through that re-enchantment, they can participate in conjunction with UC activities. Some will be able to donate time or resources, while others will be able to give ideas, allowing people to reconnect with their university life, and through that propose joint ventures. I think it is a situation that produces many positive effects,” said President Sánchez.
In the first gathering, alongside Dr. Alexis Kalergis, he referred mainly to the pandemic, with an emphasis on the immunization process, in which Universidad Católica has had an important role. “Nobody thought that this situation would last so long, we thought initially that it would take three or four months to have it under control,” said President Sánchez, remembering March 14th, 2020, when the university decided to close all campuses except for essential tasks.
Dr. Kalergis, who has been a key figure in the vaccination process, said that by then he had already been in touch with the Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech, which was developing a vaccine against the virus. Their idea was to conduct Phase III clinical studies of the vaccine in Chile. This aspiration came true in the forthcoming months; and the effort finally led to the approval of the vaccine by the Public Health Institute, the Chilean regulatory entity, and the roll-out of the immunization process.
The future was also present in the conversation. In that sense, Dr. Kalergis expressed that one of his main concerns refers to the multiple variants that are emerging. President Sánchez, on his side, stressed the importance of vaccinating children and teenagers, as well as improving communication efforts regarding the virus. For instance, he said that a big communication campaign is urgently needed. Another focus has to do with mental health, and he announced that an integral program will be presented shortly, first to the UC community and then, hopefully, to the population at large. Aside from this open meeting -which was moderated by journalist, local TV news anchor, and UC alumni Soledad Onetto-, there have been others that are targeted at smaller groups of alumni. In June, for instance, UC graduates from the schools of Law, History, and Communication met with President Sánchez. During the occasion, the President referred to the role of UC in the pandemic as well as in the process of rewriting the Constitution. In this regard, he mentioned the project Tenemos que Hablar de Chile [We need to talk about Chile], which gathered thousands of people with the purpose of striking a dialogue on the challenges Chile is facing. In July, another meeting was held, this time with former students from the schools of Architecture, Design, Agronomy, Art, and Esthetics.