By: Katie Peters – Arts Editor
For the class of 2020, what was supposed to be a spring semester full of counting down days to graduation and getting ready to step into the next phase of their life, has turned into quarantine and online classes. Despite this disappointment, the Lasell community has stepped up to honor the senior class with the new initiative, Tribute for 2020.
This initiative was started by the Director of the Donahue Institute for Ethics, Diversity, and Inclusion Dr. Jesse Tauriac with the assistance of Assistant Director of the Donahue Institute Thomas Morgan and the Associate Director of the Center for Community Based Learning (CCBL) Byrd Hughes. Tribute for 2020 calls on faculty, students, alumni, and community members to pool resources with the goal of making 2,020 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those on the frontline during this pandemic.
Tribute for 2020 was also created to honor the class of 2020. “We have an amazing group of seniors who are incredibly caring and socially responsible and kind,” says Tauriac. “We wanted to do something to really honor them…something that would be symbolic of the kind of people they are.”
While some volunteers sew, others travel. Part of this initiative’s function is to connect people who have materials with people who can utilize them. Fabric and patterns that have been dropped off at the Intercultural Center and Commuter Cottage (IC3) can be driven to a participant’s house by a volunteer. If sewing is not an option and fabric is nowhere to be found, monetary donations are also accepted.
Senior Massimo Cugno has played a role in keeping this initiative going. In charge of six volunteer drivers, including himself, he says, “I live close enough to campus that I’m able to go back and forth from campus to wherever I need to go.”
Anyone who has made PPE and donated to a local hospital can have their donations counted toward the donation total. “We’ve given volunteers the choice – once they make the materials, they can contact us and then donate them,” says Hughes. “If there are [facilities] closer to them that they can donate to, they have the option of doing that.” PPE that is donated locally can still be counted by visiting here.
Tribute for 2020 has donated over 3,100 pieces of PPE so far. One professor who stepped up to help was Assistant Professor of Fashion Gail Jauregui. She was already making masks and gowns for healthcare workers when she heard about Tribute for 2020. “You realize how many people want to go above and beyond and help out,” she says. “I think it also shows that the Lasell community – we miss each other. This is another way to bring us together and unite us in a way we never could have expected.”
Student-workers have also been crucial to this initiative. Junior Alanis Perez-Rivera has been running the Instagram and Facebook accounts for Tribute for 2020. This initiative is important to her because she and some immediate family members are essential workers, including her mother who works in the medical field. Perez-Rivera also assisted with connecting volunteers with each other in the beginning stages, a job that has been passed on to senior AnnaMarie Seiler.