On a recent, bright, early morning at St. John’s University’s Queens, NY, campus, three Department of Public Safety officers, joined by an administrator and a Department of Campus Facilities and Services worker, loaded more than 50 boxes of classroom medical supplies into campus vehicles and transported them to nearby NewYork Presbyterian-Queens Hospital.
Inside the boxes were critically needed personal protective equipment being donated to assist local health workers on the front lines of fighting the global COVID-19 pandemic. The supplies included 186,000 medical gloves, 500 disposable lab coats, 100 surgical masks, and 20 protective face shields. The medical supplies were generously donated by faculty from every science department at the University.
“What happened here today is a classic St. John’s answer to the enduring Vincentian question of ‘What must be done?’,” observed Brian Browne, Executive Director for University Relations and Assistant Vice President for Government Relations, who was on hand for the delivery of supplies. “The collective University community saw an unmet need and quickly came together collaboratively to partner with NewYork-Presbyterian Queens to help others and to make something positive happen during a troubling time.”
One day earlier, in the Sciarra Seminar Room of St. Albert Hall, Colleen M. Greaney, Ph.D., Director of Environmental Health and Safety, joined by Public Safety Officer Thomas J. Passaro, packed and labeled the boxes. As the University has complied with the New York State mandate to transition to a remote workforce, on-campus personnel is now limited to a few operational employees. Despite that reduction of staff on-site, the St. John’s family collectively came together to assist both in-person and online.
“I am grateful to our faculty, administrators, and staff for exemplifying the spirit of service that is deeply embedded at St. John’s, particularly at this very challenging time,” remarked Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s.
The rapid call to action began with a weekend email from Philip S. Lukeman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Chemistry, that quickly generated immediate participation from Simon G. Møller, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Jeffrey Fagen, Ph.D., Dean, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Russell J. DiGate, Ph.D., Dean, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Faculty from across the campus remotely provided inventory information and the location of available supplies.
“As an institution of higher learning, St. John’s University’s primary responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and staff. As such, we closely monitor the evolving public health situation related to the COVID-19 situation and its potential impact on the University community, our alumni, and beyond,” stated Provost Møller. “It is in moments of uncertainty that the St. John’s community demonstrates its true commitment to Vincentian values.”
To learn how you may assist students at St. John’s University impacted by COVID-19, visit the Emergency Fund for St. John’s Students.