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During the COVID-19 crisis, many colleges and universities have ramped up their outward communication efforts seeking to connect in these uncertain times. Below are three ways that higher education institutions are staying in touch and updating alumni, community members, and donors and sharing how alumni are involved in the fight against coronavirus.
1. Spotlight alumni serving on the frontlines
Georgetown University is using social media to thank and share the stories of alumni who are providing medical relief in NYC and staffing emergency rooms across the country. In some cases, the profiles even include short video messages recorded by the individual on their phones. Similarly, George Washington University recently spotlighted on Instagram how a local alumnus and his business partners were offering free meals and food delivery to elderly DC residents during the current crisis.
To help build a community of support that is sorely needed right now, a number of institutions are also asking alumni to reach out and share stories of how their fellow classmates are making a difference during the crisis.
2. Highlight relevant university research efforts around coronavirus
In a recent email to alumni, Duke University emphasized that the University Hospital had joined the first national study to test a potential treatment for COVID-19. The hospital is now enrolling patients in a trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of remdesivir, an antiviral agent.
3. Fundraise for personal protective equipment (PPE) and urgent hospital needs
On March 20, Stony Brook University Hospital launched the Corona Challenge. The challenge united alumni, faculty, staff, university friends, and the local community in an effort to raise funds for critical medical supplies and treatments. The challenge also featured matching funds from the Della Pietra Family and the Clarkson and Heintzelman Family.
Across 10 days, this crowdfunding initiative raised $1.2 million dollars from almost 1,500 donors. Funds raised through the challenge are being used to buy PPE as well as equipment to help sanitize N95 masks for reuse.
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Across the past 24 hours, my colleagues and I surveyed 77 of our advancement partners to see how they are responding to COVID-19.