20 Mar COVID-19 Impacts 2020 Student Congresses
After significant deliberation and evaluation of COVID-19 realities, the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship has cancelled the 2020 College and High School Student Congresses. This decision was made collaboratively, but with great difficulty, among the Center’s staff, planning team, and Board of Directors after reviewing federal and local recommendations regarding COVID-19’s impact on events.
We recognize the value of the Student Congresses for each participant, and we are grateful for their sincere desire to attend this program. The Student Congresses are a highlight of the Center’s year, and 2020 will certainly feel incomplete without them.
However, in light of rapidly changing national and global uncertainties, this was the only responsible decision to make. First and foremost, the Center acts out of concern for the health and safety of our students, staff, program support, and external participants. Second, the Center wishes to honor the priorities and policies of our host institutions as they confront the challenges facing their campus communities.
Third, the mass closures across government, business, and legal worlds are creating strain for the individuals and groups we incorporate into our Lexington and D.C. programming. Their calendars are shifting daily, and many will be forced to recalibrate their entire year based on the events of the coming days and weeks.
Finally, the COVID-19 event’s likely economic impact on the nonprofit sector cannot be understated. We are proud to work with extremely dedicated sponsors and supporters who we are certain will remain committed to our programs and mission. Nonprofit giving, however, may experience a shift or delay further into the year, and we must be prepared for the impact of these circumstances.
The Center remains committed to our selected students as representatives of the Henry Clay Center’s mission and purposes. We have extended an opportunity for college students to defer their participation in the College Student Congress to 2021. Other students will be encouraged to apply to fill vacated and alternate positions.
We are planning a series of webinar activities for both the college and high school students, to take place the weeks of May 11-15 and June 8-12. More information about these events will be made public in the days to come.