HELPING PROTECT OUR ALUMNI AND COMMUNITY, ONE MASK AT A TIME
The College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Southeastern Foundation have partnered together to help with the low supply of medical masks for healthcare workers amidst the global emergency. The project, titled Mask Up & Make a Difference, is also aiding current and future graduates of the University who are working on the front lines.
“We want to make sure that all of our nursing graduates have masks and are ready to immediately help with this crisis,” said Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth.
The initiative provides a means for volunteers to do one of four tasks to help the cause. Volunteers can collect supplies and donate them, make a monetary donation to the Southeastern Foundation to aid the purchase of more supplies, help sew partially or fully completed masks, or teach others how to make masks.
By the end of May, approximately 200 masks were received by Southeastern for the initiative. New nursing graduates received 80 of these during their pinning ceremony at the end of the spring semester. The Foundation mailed another 40 by the end of May to all nursing alumni who had so far requested one.
“The Foundation is grateful for this partnership in support of the University and its alumni,” said Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale. “During this time of great need, we are eager to lend our hand by helping coordinate in this
Melanie Easley, an administrative coordinator for Physical Plant Services, has donated some of her time to the cause by sewing multiple masks. Her reasoning for participating in the project is twofold.
“I wanted to do this because sewing is kind of a lost art with the younger generation, and I think there are so few of us that do this,” said Easley.
Easley’s sister-in-law is a nurse practitioner in the New Orleans area. Sewing masks is a way for her to help essential workers and make a difference while staying at home.
“I see all of these endless hours that doctors and nurses put in, as well as other essential workers, and felt that this little thing that I could do might help,” shared Easley. “My heart goes out to them. It makes me feel like I’m making a contribution to this huge mess we’re in right now. I pray for these people.”
Joan Guzzardo, volunteer for Mask Up, has sewed and donated over 30 masks to this project. “I think it’s a worthy cause, and I think the mask is good protection for all people to wear,” expressed Guzzardo. “I’m a cancer patient right now, and it gives me something to do at home. This is a crazy, crazy time right now, but I think it’s the best thing we can do as a society to help one another.”
Valerie Saba, a University alumna, is another Mask Up volunteer. She commented on how the task of crafting masks has affected her quarantine experience. “I think it has made it better because I feel like I’m contributing or doing something,” said Saba. “I’m not just staying at home. I am working a little bit from home online, but it makes me feel
like I’m doing something.”
She believes this initiative will not only aid the workers receiving the masks but will encourage more people to wear them.
“I think it’s great,” said Saba. “I think more people need to do it. I feel like if more people participated, then I think more people would be wearing masks. I think it’s a great give back to the community.”
Kayla Caldwell, a sophomore communication major, shared her sentiments about the initiative.
“I think it’s great because the more masks we can provide for health-care workers, the more healthy workers we will have to help those in need,” expressed Caldwell. “Therefore, the more people they can nurse back to health.”
Volunteers who are interested in helping with the project can learn more, download a mask pattern, or make a donation at southeastern.edu/maskup.