Claremont Colleges faculty, students donate protective equipment to medical institutions

Students and faculty at Claremont colleges donate personal protective equipment to healthcare workers and medical facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AZ Ekimena via Wikimedia Commons)

After her unbeaten season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, CMS women’s tennis captain Anastasia Bryan-Ajania SC ’20 found herself home reading about personal protective equipment online.

When she learned that college athletics departments often store PPE, Bryan-Ajania decided to encourage some members of his community – the CMS athletics department, Scripps president Lara Tiedens and the seven Claremont colleges – to donate supplies.

His efforts paid off, launching donations of gloves, lab coats, masks, disinfectant wipes and cleaning supplies from some of the colleges to medical institutions near Claremont in late March, according to Bryan-Ajania and a Scripps. Press release. She then contacted coaches from the California Institute of Technology, PAC-12 schools and the NCAA itself, asking them to donate their unused PPE to hospitals.

“It was great to see that my community was so excited to help,” she told TSL. “… Many institutions obviously think of their science department when it comes to the cleaning supplies and PPE they have to donate, but no one really thinks about the supplies available to sports programs.”

Bryan-Ajania initiative joins larger effort across 7Cs to donate PPE medical facilities, first responders and essential workers. In fact, some students and faculty don’t just look for existing PPE to donate – they take the initiative to produce their own.

Anna Hickerson, professor of medical device engineering at the Keck Graduate Institute, 3D printed a mask mold and now uses vacuum forming to create masks. Masks take about two minutes to form, up to 100 times faster than 3D printing.

Hickerson and her husband, a nuclear physicist, were urged by hospitals to provide as much PPE made at home or in small laboratories as possible “using any rapid prototyping technology available”, according to a website they did this by explaining the process.

Nina Kar KG ’20 produces masks by 3D printing. Each reusable antimicrobial mask takes approximately 3 hours to produce. In 34 days, Kar donated more than 840 masks to first responders. She also raised more than $ 2,400 in donations to fund the production, according to her organization, Student scribes.

“These masks are free to all frontline workers,” Kar told TSL via email. “This initiative is funded by crowdfunding, with 100% of donations going to the production and distribution of masks across the country.”

Janet Sheung, a physics professor at Scripps, also uses her 3D printer to make PPE for medical personnel. In early April, Sheung donated 70 face shields to Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., Scripps says. Press release.

In addition to producing their own masks, some professors donate supplies from university labs, art studios, and other facilities.

In April, Sharon Gerbode, a physics professor at Harvey Mudd College, gathered supplies from university labs and donated them to Huntington Memorial Hospital. Gerbode had the idea of PPE link, a service created by STEM professionals that connects donors with medical facilities in need of supplies. She also rallied her colleagues at Mudd to help with the effort.

It has been a wonderful collaboration on campus that truly reflects the college’s mission to make an impact on society, and the volunteers from the collection at the hospital have been thrilled with the bonus, ”Gerbode said in a Harvey Mudd. Press release.

In total, Harvey Mudd donated about 35 boxes of gloves, a box of masks, two large bottles of hand sanitizer, two large containers of sanitizing wipes and a lab coat, according to the communicated.

Rebekah Myers and Tim Berg, art teachers at Pitzer College donate N95 masks from Pitzer’s ceramic and sculpture supplies at QueensCare Health Centers in Los Angeles. Myers and Berg also started sewing masks after donating the N95s.

Scripps did not respond to TSL’s questions regarding why the PPE was not donated earlier, the type or amount of PPE donated, the amount of PPE remaining and who facilitated the transfer of donations. . Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Claremont Graduate University did not return requests for comment.

Although Pomona has not donated PPE to medical facilities, according to spokesperson Patricia Vest, the college is providing supplies to ensure the protection of its own staff and students.

“We maintain a supply of PPE for the use of our staff, faculty and students, which includes gloves, N95 masks, surgical and cloth masks,” Vest said via email. “PPE is used in [a] variety of situations such as housekeepers working in currently occupied buildings, students entering [the] dining room, among others.

The Keck Graduate Institute did not donate PPE from its laboratory inventory, choosing to use its limited inventory in research laboratories “related to the fight against COVID-19”, KGI spokesman Ivan Alber said via email.

Meanwhile, Bryan-Ajania hopes other varsity athletes and sports departments will adapt and become part of the solution during this time.

“I think the best part of this initiative was just the publicity it received because it involved other people and it really encouraged other institutions to do their part,” she said.

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