Mississippi College alumni are creating face masks to protect people during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a new way for grads to give back to their alma mater.
Leaders at the Christian university launched the May 21 initiative as the USA reported more than 1.58 million coronavirus cases.
Social distancing and stepped up health standards will continue, likely for months to come in countries worldwide. Portions of 38 states across America set face-covering requirements, often in grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants.
Mississippi College administrator Jim Turcotte says the timing is right to begin the face mask campaign as the Memorial Day weekend nears.
“As Mississippi College reopens from the pandemic, we will need to supply our faculty, staff and students with reusable masks,” Turcotte said. “We have plans to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE), including masks.”
Often hearing from alumni who ask how they can help their school, the university official suggests an important opportunity to contribute.
Making masks, the MC graduate said, “is a very tangible and much needed way for our alumni to come alongside Mississippi College and help us with a healthy and safe restart.”
Mississippi College President Blake Thompson announced the university plans to welcome back students for traditional fall classes and activities starting in August. One of the major steps is having an August 1 commencement on the Clinton campus. The MC Law graduation will be August 7 at First Baptist Church Jackson.
Via social media and other messages, Turcotte is asking alumni to step up. “Perhaps there has never been a more important time for our alumni and friends to engage in this way.”
The vice president for enrollment services and executive director of alumni affairs, Turcotte is receiving help from colleagues.
Vicki Williams, assistant to Communication Department Chair Cliff Fortenberry, is among the new campaign’s early leaders.
“We are inviting alumni to sew or ask their friends to make and donate homemade PPE masks,” Williams said. She anticipates many of the masks will showcase the college’s blue and gold colors.
“This is one of many steps we’re taking to assure that our campus family is as safe as possible while we are establishing our new normal,” the Clinton resident said.
An information booklet will go to alumni along with a pattern to help produce the masks. Alumni are asked to update their contact information so they can be reached. Emails will be sent to the MC community on the Clinton campus and MC Law School in Jackson.
Williams believes alumni will rise to the challenge. “We know that our alumni love and treasure MC as much as we prize them.”
Officials say there are more than 35,000 MC alumni around the world.
Taylor Ormon, associate director of the Career Services Office, is happy to pitch in. She will sew masks and ask people to join her.
“This is an exceptional way for MC alumni to get involved and give back to such a special place,” Ormon says. “PPE is going to be extremely important as we begin to open campus back up to ensure that we do not spread the virus.”
As a Mississippi College alumna, “I plan on sewing masks (blue and gold of course) to lend a hand to a place that has given me so much,” Taylor Ormon said. “Our hope is that our MC family will come together to support the health of our students, faculty and staff.”