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Good news: How UC is helping during the pandemic

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Zabrina and Jhonny Crespo

Looking for some positive stories to brighten up your week? Here are some stories of how UC staff, faculty, students and researchers are giving back throughout California.

UCPath staff member Zabrina Crespo and her husband, Jhonny (pictured above), have been 3-D printing face masks and mask tension release bands. They’ve donated them to health care workers all over Southern California, including to UC San Diego’s Thornton Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Look out for Zabrina’s story in the next issue of UCnetwork. 

Graduate students at UC Berkeley are producing 120 gallons of hand sanitizer per week for distribution to homeless shelters, jails, senior centers and other places in need. They began this project after learning that several staff members at the San Francisco County Jail had tested positive for COVID-19 and were short on supplies.

Volunteers from UC Davis are helping a local food bank by delivering food to individuals too vulnerable to leave home. Robb Davis, former mayor of Davis who is the director of intercultural programs at Global Affairs, has taken a leave of absence from campus to serve as the food bank’s coronavirus response coordinator. 

An interdisciplinary team of UC Irvine campus labs produced sample-preserving fluid for COVID-19 test kits when their health center faced a potential shortage. In the next four to six weeks, they plan to produce enough fluid for 16,000 kits.  

Law students at UCLA are volunteering to help hospitality and restaurant workers in California secure unemployment benefits. They have already assisted more than 650 union members, and in one week alone, they filed claims to return more than $1.4 million in unemployment benefits to members of the UNITE HERE Local 11 union. 

After learning about a nationwide shortage in donated blood, UC Merced volunteers, including the interim chancellor, gave back at a local blood drive in Merced.

Staff at UC Riverside’s costume shop and at UC Santa Cruz’s are stitching together hundreds of face coverings to protect essential personnel. The colorful and fun patterns will cheer as well as protect colleagues throughout campus.

A team of UCSF physicians and nurses have volunteered to provide urgently needed health care for patients in hard-hit New York. Another group of UCSF staff is traveling to help in the Navajo Nation

At UC Santa Barbara, the California NanoSystems Institute has begun 3-D printing face shields for hospital and service workers in desperate need of protective masks. The lab is currently prototyping three face-shield designs. 

A student on the men’s rowing team at UC San Diego who has long volunteered within the senior community began to hand-deliver donated face masks to senior homes when volunteer visits were suspended. 

Have you heard of more heartwarming UC stories? Share them in the comments!

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