During a medical supplies shortage across the nation, one Loyola senior felt that he needed to help local hospitals in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I saw University Medical Center had started accepting donations and so I found my own lab goggles to donate and that sparked the idea,” biophysics senior Baasel Syed said. “It turned from the casual ‘I want to help,’ into, ‘I have to do something.’”
Syed emailed the heads of Loyola’s biology, chemistry, neuroscience and physics departments to help coordinate a collection of unused supplies for the Tulane Medical Center.
“I’m quite sure we exhausted all that the science labs had,” professor Elin Grissom said.
In total, Grissom and professor CJ Stephenson gathered 30,000 lab-quality latex gloves, 300 disposable gowns, 500 face masks, 300 sets of shoe covers and three face shields all across campus.
“We felt an obligation to help the medical community in the fight against COVID-19 in any way we could,” Grissom said. “These donations will help to keep medical workers safe while caring for those who are infected.”
Syed says he’s proud that his professors rallied to help those in need.
“Knowing we have professors doing they’re part is a rare comfort, I think it shows me at the very least we’re all doing what we can where we can,” he said.
To further help the cause, assistant professor John Seefeldt will lead a team of art and design faculty in using the university’s 3-D printers to replicate needed medical equipment, such as face shields.
“Loyola tries so hard to instill in us the Jesuit values. It’s reassuring to know that in times of hardship and crisis like this that Loyola keeps true to those values,” Syed said. “(Loyola is) leading from the front and it’s challenging us to do the same.”
The relief comes as both professors and students struggle with having classes solely online for the rest of the semester.
“It was odd to be on campus when it was so empty, and it makes me look forward to when students are back on campus,” Grissom said. “This is an uncertain time and we just want our students to know we are here to help them get through.”
As the Loyola community practices social distancing at home, Syed says there’s still plenty to do to help during this health crisis.
“Your donations can save lives,” he said “Just because today doesn’t look like yesterday doesn’t mean there won’t be a better tomorrow.
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