Campus Collaboration on Display With Donations
By Tim Meehan
Regina Frasca has worked at Cal State San Marcos for 21 years.
Now the director of the Office of Safety, Health and Sustainability, she has witnessed three major fires come dangerously close to campus. She has seen her team recover from earthquakes and budget cuts, power outages and major leadership changes.
But last week, she was inspired by the campus community more than she ever could have imagined.
In a matter of a few days, SHS organized a collection of surplus personal protection equipment (PPE) and other items of value from the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics and College of Education, Health and Human Services to donate to local hospitals.
The items were then packed and picked up by local health care partners in the ongoing fight against the spread of COVID-19.
“The philanthropy was amazing because usually in our setting, you’re fighting for resources,” Frasca said. “You order the year before so you have what you need for the next fiscal year. We’re really very cautious with our resources because these are the resources we use to protect the health and safety of our students as well as our employees. And then for the nursing program, they need to know how to use the equipment, so to be able to give that stuff up not knowing if they’re going to be able to get that back, that’s true philanthropy. Pulling that all together is quite amazing.”
Included in the campus-wide donation were four ventilators, 995 N-95 masks, 450 surgical masks, 290 face shields and 40,750 pairs of nitrile gloves. The supplies went to providers who are partners with CSUSM in the university’s various medical majors and minors – Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, Kaiser Permanente and Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.
The SHS team was also able to collect supplies from the Temecula campus and then involved partner Temecula Valley Hospital to provide a set of donated items to that entity as well.
The idea originated when someone reached out to the Office of the President and asked if the campus had any PPE. At the same time, various people from the different colleges contacted their deans to ask if there was surplus to donate. The deans were told to put everything on hold until they figured out what the needs of the campus would be.
CSUSM still has about 70 students living on campus, plus several departments with employees still working on site.
Once they figured out what could be shared, the deans of the three colleges motivated their teams to collect whatever the campus had that could be utilized as surplus. The goods were mostly from instructional labs, research labs and clinical settings that are no longer in use this semester. The nursing program had particularly high-value items, including one ventilator to be donated to each of the four health care partners.
Sarah Villarreal, associate vice president of community outreach, then started talking with the potential recipients while the donation items were quickly put on paper.
“We had no idea how much we really had,” Frasca said. “Visually, it was very different than what it looked like on paper.”
Once the items were put to paper, the real challenge began on April 2. With an assist from a parking officer, Frasca and her team went around campus and gathered everything. The following day, with the help of Distribution Services (which re-opened just for the occasion), the items were packed, wrapped and placed onto pallets.
Since rain was forecast the following week, the four hospitals were asked late in the afternoon of April 2 if they could pick up the items the following day between 10 a.m. and noon.
“They were pretty shocked with how much we collected,” Frasca said of the reaction. “And very appreciative of the ventilators, of course. Just seeing that appreciation was heartwarming. We’ve received emails thanking the entire campus.
“I want to be clear: My team just collected. We packed. But we were just a cog in this big event starting with the president’s office and the deans of the different colleges. We were just the people allowed to be on campus to muscle all this stuff together. It wasn’t just our team. It was a concerted and organized effort.”
The philanthropic spirit is alive and well at CSUSM. A global event that has negatively impacted so many people has also given rise to stories of unselfishness.
“It’s philanthropy with a lot of hope,” Frasca said. “Hope that we’re able to help today so that maybe tomorrow someone will be able to help us back when we need those resources. The partnerships we have with local health care providers, they provide us and our students the opportunities to learn and train. If we didn’t have those partnerships with them, our students would have nowhere to go. It’s one of those things that you hope you can be there for them as they have been there for us.”
For a few days, Frasca and her team worked around the clock to ensure that CSUSM could offer support where it was needed. The time was spent organizing, planning and finally executing a project she couldn’t have dreamed of a few months ago.
After the collection was gone, she had a few moments to sit back and reflect on a campus normally so full of life and energy but currently quiet.
“That’s why I’ve been here for so long. This is our home away from home,” Frasca said as she was overcome with emotion. “These are our people, so I miss them tremendously. The whole charge of our team is our people and to protect them.”
CSUSM Supplies Donated
Supply, donated amount
Nitrile gloves box (100 ct), 815 (40,750 pair)
Sterile gloves box (40 ct), 37 (740 pair)
N-95 masks, 995
Surgical masks, 450
Procedure face masks, 250
Face shields, 290
Disposable lab coats, 20
Surgical gowns, 33
Isolation gowns, 5
Shoe covers, 50
Safety glasses, 10
Bouffant caps, 14
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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