Amid the COVID-19 global health crisis, members of the Wittenberg community are still embracing the call to serve while maintaining social distancing.
Wittenberg’s nursing program recently answered the call from national leaders, regulators, and accreditors asking academic nursing, medical, and dental programs to donate critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals. The Wittenberg team donated hand sanitizer, gowns, and masks to the Mercy Health Springfield Regional Medical Center on March 23.
On Monday, March 30, the biology and chemistry departments combined efforts to deliver a truckload of gloves, goggles, aprons, lab coats, shoe covers, and N95 masks from their respective departments to the front lines of the Springfield community after Jennifer Gile, coordinator for chemistry labs and the chemical hygiene officer at Wittenberg, reached out to Selinda Littler of the Clark County Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Littler was most thankful for the donation and said that EMS will allocate 50 percent of the total items obtained to Springfield’s hospitals, then cover EMS, fire, and law enforcement followed by long-term care facilities. There is such a shortage that EMS is trying its best to meet the needs of front-line personnel first.
“Thank you everyone for being generous with the safety equipment we had on hand,” Gile said. “It’s very appreciated and will be a great benefit to many people. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to donate the gloves, lab coats, googles, aprons, shoe covers, and masks. I’m beyond proud of our community.”
To support the Springfield community further, Wittenberg faculty have been assisting the Second Harvest Food Bank during this time. Sarah Fortner, associate professor of geology & environmental science, and Cynthia Richards, professor of English, recently helped to pack food for delivery to those in need.
Additionally, Taylor Horton, Wittenberg class of 2020 and a student-teacher in the Springfield City School District, asked her kindergartners to write cards to nursing home residents. The project was featured on WHIO-TV in mid-March. Three of Horton’s students ended up creating 25 cards in less than an hour.
At Weaver Chapel, the Campus Cupboard saw 405 food items and 166 hygiene items leave its shelves anonymously in the month of March alone, the largest amount ever taken. All items to the cupboard are donated by the campus community to help address food insecurity among the student body. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Campus Cupboard has temporarily moved from Weaver Chapel to the Benham-Pence Student Center.
With students engaged in remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester, Wittenberg has also offered the use of some of its residence halls and other facilities. The University has been in contact with Mercy Hospital and the State of Ohio and will work closely with the Clark County Emergency Management Agency to help meet local needs for additional space to accommodate medical professionals and others who may need temporary quarters.
To provide support for those unable to attend weekday chapel, Wittenberg’s Campus Ministry team has also gone virtual. Weekday chapel is now being presented via Facebook live at 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on the Wittenberg University Campus Ministries Facebook page. Virtual Sunday morning worship service are also available.
With the cancellation or postponement of all in-person alumni events, Wittenberg’s Advancement Office is offering several virtual engagement options, including faculty presentations and a unique Celebrate Service event in mid-April, along with its current Witt Gram program. Moreover, the Office of Admission is continuing to connect with future students in creative ways, including through its new @wittadmission Instagram channel and several online engagement experiences found here.