College donates medical gear

College donates precious resources

By Deserae E. del Campo

College donates precious resources

By Deserae E. del Campo
To help doctors and nurses control the COVID-19 pandemic, Chemistry students donate protective gear to the University of Miami Health System.

With chemistry labs and art studios devoid of students who are now learning online, the face masks, goggles and gloves they wore when mixing solvents or cutting wood sat idle. But now the protective equipment has a higher purpose.

The medical eqiupment could soon be in the hands of doctors and nurses at the University of Miami Health System who are bracing for the expected surge of hospital patients with COVID-19. For Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, donating the gear to the Miller School of Medicine was a no-brainer.

“We extend our gratitude to the hardworking men and women in the medical profession who are diligently doing their best to help fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Bachas. “It’s important for us to share our resources and support doctors and nurses with much-needed goggles and gloves so they can protect themselves and their patients during this public health crisis.”

In all, the Art and Art History Department donated 60 N95 masks that art class students don when cutting and sanding wood, grinding metals, or mixing plaster or clays. The Chemistry Department donated approximately 1,250 pairs of gloves, and the Chemistry Club provided 180 unused goggles. 

"The University of Miami Chemistry Club strives to aid the community in any way we can. With the recent impact of COVID-19, some of our goals have shifted. We have adapted to providing needed materials for the community instead of solely focusing on encouraging our community’s youth to appreciate the sciences. We have seen how PPE has become a huge part of everyday life and it seemed natural that we donate our resources to those on the front lines," said Lake Lige, former president of the Chemistry Club. 

“The goggles are all individually packaged and have never been worn,” said Leslie Knecht, the Chemistry Club advisor and a senior lecturer in the department. “We’re really happy to know these materials are going to a good cause. It’s making a negative situation into a positive.”

Vincent Torres, emergency manager for UHealth and Miller School of Medicine, said he was happy to receive the protective equipment and welcomes other donations from internal departments. 

“We are in a very unique time in history, and it will take the whole community to get through it,” said Torres. “COVID-19 will forever change how we do everything from education to medicine.”