A number of families in China banded together and donated personal protective equipment to Vassar College during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPE has gone to students on the Poughkeepsie campus who could not go home, as well as employees. The majority of the PPE, though, has been donated to local hospitals and first responders. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with a Vassar professor who worked with the families in China.
Once New York PAUSE took effect toward the end of March requiring non-essential businesses to close and mandating social distancing, Vassar, like many colleges, switched to distance learning. Peipei Qiu, the Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Chair Professor of Chinese and Japanese at Poughkeepsie-based Vassar College, says not all students left campus.
She says Vassar put together care kits for the students on campus, containing donated masks along with Vassar’s own resources of Tylenol, hand sanitizer and disposable thermometers. She says the families in China sent 3,000 N95 masks and 14,000 surgical masks 5,200 pairs of gloves and 180 protective eye goggles.
Peipei Qiu is 2021 class advisor and professor of Chinese and Japanese at Vassar College. Vassar and China have longstanding links. The first Chinese Vassar student graduated in 1919. In the summer of 2019, Vassar launched a summer program for gifted high school students in Beijing.