Hundreds of students collected free masks, T-shirts, and other supplies from last week’s COVID safety fair

The event, which normally takes place in winter, was pushed up and specialized to help protect students during the pandemic

A group of student workers from the Campus Activities Programming Board distributed free bags of COVID safety supplies, along with T-shirts, last Tuesday and Wednesday behind the Student Center. The event was part of a series called ‘Safe Mizzou.’

“What we do every semester is to provide a safety fair for people,” Ruby Wu, a senior and member of the CAPB, said. “We normally would have one in the winter, but because of the recent pandemic we decided to do a COVID safety fair.”

The safety kits consisted of a miniature first-aid kit containing Band-Aids and antiseptic wipes, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a white mask with fabric markers for decoration, a number of cards with assorted safety information, and a t-shirt with the captions ‘Truman wants YOU to #MaskUpMizzou 2020’ and, on the back, ‘If you can read this, you’re too close.’

Wu said they were expecting student attendance to be about 500, between the two days.

“I heard about it on Twitter and the shirt looked cute, so I decided to come,” junior Amanda Wejner said.

Junior Caroline Davey concurred. “Free is always good,” Davey said.

Many students had a similar story.

”I knew they were giving out resources, and it’s a cheaper way to get Band-Aids, Germ-X, just a free way to get helpful resources,” senior Josh Varnon said.

Students appeared in a steady trickle throughout the day, which was ideal for the event, as gathering large crowds and long lines would have been counter to the safety measures the event was created to promote.

“They don’t want to draw huge crowds. I think that’s a good thing,” Varnon said. “I think they’re doing a good job, trying to keep it small and keep people spaced out.”

Despite the contention around COVID safety on campus, students universally approved of the safety fair. Even those who otherwise had issues with the school’s COVID policies considered it a good step.

“I feel like it was a very rocky start,” freshman Josie Johnson said of the school’s safety, “but I think people realized a little bit how serious it is and how big of a part we all play, and I think some people are taking it more seriously now. Especially because they’re handing out stuff to help combat the spread. That’s definitely important.”

Despite students being the main target demographic for the event, they weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the giveaway. Visitors also ranged from families with children, collecting a shirt for each child, to members of the custodial staff.

“We ran out of kits early on the second day, which is great,” senior Mariana Labbate said. “That means a lot of people out there are safe now.”

Edited by Lucy Caile|lcaile@themaneater.com

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