Colleges, students do their part to help during coronavirus crisis

From coast to coast, acts of service for those most at risk of COVID-19 or for those on the front lines have gotten little attention.

Students and faculty across the country are doing their part to pitch in during this pandemic.

Campus Reform is seeking to give these heroes the recognition they deserve.

This month, as the coronavirus took hold, America was effectively shut down, with mass quarantines and stay at home orders implemented nationwide.

Across the country, people of all ages and occupations had their lives upended as unemployment rates skyrocketed and entire industries ground to a halt. While some college students have made headlines for their initial failure to take the crisis seriously, partying in Florida and Mexico on spring break, many have stepped up to the plate to contribute their time and resources toward helping those in need. 

In Marion, Iowa, a small group of college students organized a free grocery delivery service, ensuring elderly members of the community can get essential goods without having to leave their homes. 

“The emotional response that we get is a good payment on its own because everyone is so grateful we are helping them out,” said Brycen Snell, an Iowa State University Student, KCRG-TV reported. 

While some students would take advantage of the increased free time afforded them, Reid Snell, also of Iowa State University, is doing the opposite, saying, “our schedules right now are all online so we can make this time in our day.”

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At North Carolina State University, graduate students are using a laser cutter to manufacture 80 disposable medical face shields per day.

The shields, larger than the popular N95 masks worn by medical professionals and the general public, are used by doctors treating COVID-19 patients and are in short supply nationwide.

“There’s a really intense need,” according to assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Landon Grace. “We feel compelled to do what we can to help,” the Raleigh News and Observer reported.

The students plan on producing over 5,000 face shields in the coming weeks. 

At Stanford University, associate professor Holly Tabor partnered with restaurateur Jesse Cool to found “Meals of Gratitude,” a charity aimed at providing free meals for healthcare workers at the university hospital. 

Already, more than $60,000 has been raised, with 1,000 meals per week being served to Stanford Hospital Staff and volunteers. 

“We felt [they] needed something really special: a meal that was complete, and said we’re thinking of you,” Cool told The Stanford Daily

Elsewhere, universities are putting their 3D printers to use, contributing medical supplies to hospitals around the country. 

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The University of Memphis, for example, is 3D printing mask parts for medical personnel after learning from local doctors that mask frames were in short supply.  

The University of Idaho joined in as well, with Professor Gabrial Potirniche helping to manufacture face shields and other equipment to send to local hospitals. 

Students also created medical innovations of their own to help those with unique challenges during the pandemic. 

Ashley Lawrence, a senior majoring in Deaf Education at Eastern Kentucky University, createda medical mask with a transparent plastic front so those who rely on lip-reading would still be able to communicate with her. 

Finally, colleges and universities opened their doors to healthcare workers in need of lodging, and patients suffering from COVID-19.

The University of Michigan-Flint, for example, renamed its First Street Residence Hall to the Healing Heroes Home, providing “doctors and nurses working at Genesee County hospitals a welcoming, safe, and convenient place to rest from their duties.”

Other schools preparing similar measures include Tufts University, George Washington University, Middlebury College, and New York University. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Cabot_Phillips