Due to the spread of COVID-19, social distancing measures were taken by the university and the state, which resulted in all Penn State campuses and most businesses being shut down. Consequently, our EnvironMentors students found themselves having to continue courses online and transition to completing their research projects virtually. Dealing with the isolation of quarantine, the impact of the pandemic, and adapting to these sudden changes were not only unfamiliar but also difficult for the students. Despite these challenges, our student participants at the University Park campus remained resilient and wanted to make a positive impact in their community in State College.
As a result, they came up with the idea of making comfortable facemasks that can be worn by healthcare and other essential workers. In order to adhere to the social distancing and quarantine rules, we bought the fabrics and materials necessary for the masks and dropped them at each student’s individual homes. Once the masks were completed, they were picked up and donated to the State College Food Bank, our organization of choice. We are extremely proud of our University Park’s students’ generosity and for taking the time to invest within their community.