SALISBURY — In the fight against COVID-19, it is clear to many that it will take a group effort to find the way out. Salisbury University students Jack Lenox and Katelin Stella-Breeding saw a way they could become part of that group. Their efforts quickly have manifested into a group of more than 60 SU students who will be assisting in vaccination distribution near campus and throughout Maryland.
“I noticed there was a real need in our community for something like this,” said Lenox, a senior from Odenton, who co-coordinates the effort with Stella-Breeding. “One of our biggest concerns has been how can the people who are most in need of the vaccine access and get it.” The small initial group put the word out to other students and saw immediate interest, giving birth to the SU Cures COVID Initiative.
“It happened much faster than we were really anticipating, which was such a wonderful thing to see,” said Lenox. “It really spoke to the quality of character of a lot of SU students in our community. People were so fast not only to say they care about this, but also that they want to help execute this.” The students hope to help in any way they can. This includes offering volunteers for the mass vaccination site slated for the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center, as well as educating the public about the vaccine.
Having seen data that suggests there is an inequity in vaccine distribution in Maryland, the group is looking for ways to increase accessibility for communities of color, members of the Latino community and the elderly. This includes addressing public mistrust of vaccines and vaccine misinformation, language barriers and providing assistance to those who need help navigating the registration and scheduling system. “We’re trying to think about people who aren’t necessarily going to call the health department or send an email to schedule an appointment,” said Stella-Breeding, a junior from Denton. Lenox said the group plans to register with University System of Maryland Student Volunteer Database, which will allow SU students to volunteer near their homes.
This is not a one-semester plan. As the fight against COVID-19 potentially continues through the summer and into the fall, so will the initiative’s efforts. Lenox graduates in May, but Stella-Breeding returns for her senior year in fall 2021 and is running unopposed for the SU Student Government Association’s (SGA’s) director of civic engagement position. She plans to make the initiative’s efforts part of her SGA duties. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit salisbury.edu.