Colgate Parents Send Timely Care Package: PPE Supplies

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Medical supplies are in high demand nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Colgate’s need is no different.

Among those supporting the University during this time, numerous parents of students from China have sent a substantial order of personal protective equipment (PPE) — masks, medical gowns, gloves, and more — from Beijing, where the spread of the virus is declining and supplies are becoming more readily available.

“We are very grateful for the thoughtful care of Colgate for our children in accommodation, meals, and academics during this special time,” said Jenny Ma P’23, one of the parents involved in the gift. “We are eager to do something helpful for the Colgate community, so we organized the donation.”

Conducting daily operations in support of nearly 250 students still living on campus, staff in campus safety, buildings and grounds, dining services, and health services rely on PPE to protect their own health and safety and the wellbeing of those they serve. The sight of thousands of surgical masks, individually sealed and stacked in their boxes, was a relief for Dan Gough, associate vice president for campus safety, emergency management, and environmental health and safety. 

“The worldwide surge in medical supply orders, caused by the COVID-19 public health crisis, has made it extremely difficult to obtain personal protective equipment from commercial vendors,” Gough said. “The generous donations from parents of Colgate’s Chinese students and local community members have provided critical supplies for our first responders, health care professionals, and support staff.”

This resupply will also allow Colgate to share its resources with Community Memorial Hospital and SOMAC Ambulance — partner organizations that provide care for Colgate and Madison County residents.

“We are working closely together during this medical crisis, sharing information, medical supplies, and necessary PPE,” said Dr. Merrill Miller, director of Student Health Services. “These organizations join Colgate in thanking these parents for their remarkable effort.”

It takes grit to do the research and arrange for the shipment of dozens of packages across 11,000 miles in an era when supply chains have been disrupted by COVID-19. But, Ma said, “The greatest challenge is racing with time, because we know Colgate is in urgent need of PPE. The other challenge is about quality control. Medical materials are a new field to all of us, and we have to learn from zero. We are not professionals, so we have to check the goods provided by different suppliers carefully and choose what we think is the best one.”

In daily email conversations between campus staff and the families who were managing details of the transfer, the technical jargon around gown integrity and import accounts was punctuated with the most heartfelt and universal thanks.

“It’s Colgate Chinese parents’ pleasure to offer help in such a special situation,” Ma replied to Gough. “With hope that our help is just like the light of fireflies.”