Jeff Rubin, GSA Councilor, semi-retired emergency manager, and consultant, shares how it was a relief to be able to provide tangible assistance to students he knows are struggling and offers a reminder to dig in for the long haul.
How did you first get involved in GSA?
I joined after starting grad school (Early Holocene) to get more involved in the profession. I retained my membership even long after I stopped working as a practicing geologist. I was able to apply my geology background to public safety, valued GSA as a way to maintain a link, and I was always able to find a place in the organization. I started to get involved in GSA service in field safety and science policy, which fit segments of my career path. It stuck.
What inspired you to give to GSA CARES?
I’ve been working on our state’s COVID-19 response for a few months; although Oregon had somewhat of a glancing blow at first, the overall effects across the U.S. and the world have been brutal, and it’s not going away soon. Being able to jump into something offering tangible assistance was almost a relief. I was fortunate to have people take an interest in me during and after grad school, and I’ve tried to do the same with students over the years, so it wasn’t even a question for me.
What would you like to say to students affected by COVID-19?
I’ll skip the “hang in there,” #__Strong, and other platitudes. It’s hard enough being a student or recent graduate without a pandemic, relying on an internship, summer job, or TA position just to make ends meet, much less carry on research. I don’t think anyone could read the applications for assistance and not be affected—even for those who don’t get sick this is clearly an existential event. GSA CARES is a lifeline, not a lifeboat, but it’s a tangible demonstration of how important this is to the Foundation, GSA, and its members. We went way beyond what we projected in donations and thus what we were able to provide to student members—that matters.
What would you like to say to others who want to help during this time?
Do what you can: time, money, and just not adding to the problem. Limit your gatherings, wear a mask when you’re out among others, and dig in for the long haul. Look out for your students, support staff, and everyone else.