As the nation and the world grapple with the many challenges presented by COVID-19, Gettysburgians on campus and beyond are stepping forward in service of those in need. In true Gettysburg fashion, our College community has chosen not to shy away from the gravity of this defining moment in our history, but rather to dive in and apply our individual and collective knowledge, skills, and resourcefulness to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us.
Below are three stories highlighting how our graduates and students are responding to the global health crisis, and putting their liberal arts education to good use.
Uniting a city
In February 2020, prior to more recent social distancing measures within the U.S., Gettysburg College alumna Qiqi Mei ’18 organized a vigil in Central Park in memory of Li Wenliang—a doctor in Wuhan, China, who was among the first to advocate online about the dangers of the emerging coronavirus, and who was disciplined as a result. The vigil was the first in a series of similar services held outside of China, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne, and Berlin.
“Mourning itself is an action,” said Mei. “It lends people voices and unity.”
At Gettysburg, Mei was a psychology and religious studies double major, and educational studies and peace and justice studies double minor. Today, she is studying international educational development at Columbia University.
Read Mei’s full story in The New Yorker.
Supporting society’s most vulnerable
As a former biology major and chemistry minor at Gettysburg College—and a current microbiology graduate student at Duke University—Julia Palmucci ’18 understands the risks a coronavirus poses to society, particularly aging populations.
In an effort to minimize the elderly’s exposure to COVID-19, Palmucci—in collaboration with a group of like-minded friends—recently began to shop and run errands for senior citizens in Durham, NC. The service initiative has inspired young people across the country to adopt similar programs in support of our most vulnerable.
Read Palmucci’s story in The News & Observer.
Rallying together for our students
With Gettysburg College moving to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester, our students and their families are currently dealing with unexpected costs, including traveling, moving, and meeting technology needs.
In response, the College launched a crowdfunding campaign to bolster our Student Emergency Fund, which was established in 2018 by Peter ’68 and Nancy Gaess P’10. The Student Emergency Fund provides timely financial support in emergency circumstances for Gettysburg College students.
Within hours of the launch, the College received thousands of dollars in gifts from hundreds of Gettysburgians around the globe to support our students—a true testament to the strength and resiliency of our College community.
Please consider making your gift to the Student Emergency Fund today.
By Mike Baker