Colgate Community Supports Students on Campus

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Last week, the Colgate community came together in support of the 243 students remaining on campus. Faculty and staff from several departments, including Student Health Services and campus safety, spearheaded an effort to provide and deliver care packages to student residences. Each package contained a handmade fabric mask, hand sanitizer, baked goods, and handwritten notes from faculty members.

Doctors Ellen Larson and Merrill Miller from Student Health Services were concerned that students still on campus should have cloth masks to wear when outside their residences.

“We knew that most students did not have the materials or tools they needed with them here to make their own masks, and the community responded enthusiastically by providing donated, homemade cloth masks,” said Larson. She added that cloth masks can be washed and re-worn and therefore do not deplete the medical system’s supply of disposable masks.

Dan Gough, associate vice president for campus safety, emergency management and environmental health and safety, set up a dropbox outside of the campus safety office at 88 Hamilton Street. “Within a week, we received more than 300 masks,” he said. “The masks were laundered, and the cookies and notes were prepared using methods that conform to coronavirus safety protocols.”

Krista Ingram, associate professor of biology and chair of the biology department, put out a call to faculty and staff to write notes of encouragement and bake cookies and brownies for the students. “We had an amazing team of faculty who wanted to contribute and make a gesture of support,” said Ingram. She added that more than a dozen faculty and staff from several departments volunteered to bake, write notes, and help with planning.

Handwritten notes and goodies

“The logistics were surreal,” said Ingram. “Everyone involved wore masks and gloves while preparing the treats and cards; then they dropped them off in designated boxes on my porch for disinfection. My daughters attached the cards to the individual treats and then organized the bags in the basement of Merrill House for delivery by campus safety staff.

The campus safety team delivered the care packages on Friday evening. “The students heard the commotion and came outside their residences to thank us,” said Gough. “From a social distance, of course.”

Campus safety is still collecting mask donations, and another care package will be delivered to students once they have enough for all. Anyone wishing to make a gift of masks can leave them in the mailbox outside Campus Safety, at 88 Hamilton Street.