As COVID-19 continues to enforce social distancing, Waterford live streamed its annual state of the township address via Zoom and Facebook Live to a sizable audience — of the 150 registered, 114 watched the event.
The first virtual township address
Marie Hauswirth, executive director of the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce, was in charge of organizing the event. She said the online event has its pluses.
“What I like about it being online, is it has its shelf-life,” said Hauswirth. “It has longevity now because we streamed live on Facebook, plus they taped it to put it on the government channel, plus they also streamed to AT&T and a couple of other things. I like that because we get to reach more people.”
Hauswirth is optimistic for the event to return in-person, in the near future.
Usually, the Waterford Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the township event at a local venue, where registrars must sign-up and pay a ticket for a nominal price. Attendees would go to the event, mingle before the agenda and connect over breakfast. However, this year, the chamber decided to host the event fully online at no cost to registrars.
Opening up with sponsors
Hauswirth said it wasn’t easy to plan the whole event. She second guessed herself on the effectiveness of some virtual components. “I was actually worried about having sponsors virtually,” said Hauswirth. “But that was the other good thing of it being online, they get more exposure because now it’s on Facebook and people are watching it. For the sponsors, it’s not one and done.”
Speakers hitting the “podium”
The event transitioned into a panel followed by Q&A from the Zoom Audience. Peter Provenzano, Oakland Community College Chancellor, highlighted OCC’s education-attainment goal and the institution’s “mission is to premise to our community.” Scott Lindberg, Waterford School District superintendent, presentation featured a “Growing Up COVID” video and strategic planning. Gary Wall, Waterford Township Supervisor, discussed past milestones and future plans for Waterford.
Wall said the event is important for the public to know what is going on. “Building projects, road rehab, sidewalk rehab, restoration of soil erosion, so the dirt doesn’t run to our lakes because we have 34 lakes in Waterford Township,” said Wall. “There’s a lot of critical things you’d like to keep people in the loop on.”
Lindberg said he was honored to represent Waterford School District.
“This is my second year for having the opportunity to highlight the achievements for the past year,” he said. “This year, especially given COVID-19, my theme was to recognize the resilience of our teachers, staff, students and families. I also wanted to draw attention to how we, the entire Waterford community came together, no matter the challenges we faced and that student and staff well-being was and is always at the forefront of every decision.”
If you weren’t able to attend the live event, the recording has been pinned on Waterford’s Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and has been uploaded to their website.