Students Help Rural Businesses Protect Their Communities During COVID-19

Students Help Rural Businesses Protect Their Communities During COVID-19 Students Help Rural Businesses Protect Their Communities During COVID-19

March 23, 20212 min read
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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.


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.


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 stayopenutah.com for more information.



Connect with:
  • Stephen Lisonbee
    Stephen Lisonbee Assistant Vice President of the Office of Regional Services

    Specializing in workforce and economic development, community outreach, and leadership development

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