Husker Nation donations made in handfuls and by hundreds have helped the University of Nebraska–Lincoln provide at least one cloth mask to employees working on campus.
Due to a national shortage of masks for health care providers and essential staff, the university issued a call for cloth mask donations on April 7. Earlier this week, the drive passed its halfway point with nearly 1,000 masks distributed to employees who provide essential services.
“The response has been incredible with people rolling in with donations ranging from a single mask to 240,” said Veronica Riepe, director for Student Involvement who has helped coordinate the effort. “We are very grateful as every employee still working on campus should have one mask to wear. Now, we move on to round two and collecting enough masks to provide everyone a necessary backup.”
Key donations in the drive include 70 from a Nebraskan now living in Branson, Missouri; 100 from a grandma in York; 128 from alums in Hickman; 240 from a Lincoln business owner; and 250 Husker-themed designs from Milligan.
The university has identified approximately 950 essential staff employees who need masks to reduce exposure to the 2019 novel coronavirus. Those workers include campus police officers, facilities employees and university housing staff who support the nearly 750 students still living in residence halls.
A separate campus effort based at Nebraska Innovation Campus has also built and provided necessary face shields to the nearly 120 dining services staff providing meals for students.
Mask donations are being accepted at the University Suites front desk, 1780 R St. Individuals who make masks for donation and live in the Lincoln area can also arrange for them to be picked up by sending email to Riepe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any style of mask is acceptable. University officials ask that 100 percent cotton, pre-washed materials is used. Masks should also be sanitized per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations prior to a donation being made.
“Thank you to everyone who has made a donation and those who will do so in the coming days,” Riepe said. “You are showing the true spirit of a Husker, coming together selflessly to provide invaluable protection for university employees.”