Alfred University News

Confucius Institute of Alfred University organizes local distribution of protective masks

In early February, as the COVID-19 outbreak was hitting Wuhan, China, the Alfred University community responded, participating in a project aimed at raising funds and donations of protective masks for the citizens of Wuhan. Now, as the crisis continues to affect the United States, the Chinese people are returning the favor, sending more than 3,000 masks to Alfred and the surrounding area.


ALFRED, NY – In early February, as the COVID-19 outbreak was hitting Wuhan, China, the Alfred University community responded, participating in a project aimed at raising funds and donations of protective masks for the citizens of Wuhan. Now, as the crisis continues to affect the United States, the Chinese people are returning the favor, sending more than 3,000 masks to Alfred and the surrounding area.

The Confucius Institute at Alfred University (CIAU) organized the donations of the masks from China. According to Daisy Wu, CIAU director, the CIAU has received approximately 3,100 masks over the last four weeks.

The CIAU Institute is distributing 1,400 of the masks to the village of Alfred (for the local A.E. Crandall Hook and Ladder Co., fire and ambulance service; Alfred Police Department; U.S. Post Office; and essential business). In addition, 600 were donated to Alfred University; 400 to Jeff Sluyter-Beltrao, assistant professor of political science at Alfred University, for distribution to caregivers in Corning; and 500 were set aside for local residents and students who have remained in Alfred. Approximately 100 are available for residents of neighboring communities like Almond and Wellsville.

“We are deeply touched by your thoughtful gesture and especially appreciative of the support as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to widen its impact here in New York,” Mark Zupan, Alfred University president, said in an email thanking donors from China. “Here is hoping that you are all staying healthy and well. We are seeking to follow your courageous example in seeing us through this pandemic and being able to enjoy a more normal way of life at some point in the not too distant future.”

In February, the Alfred University community answered the request for help from Wuhan as the city was in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. China University of Geosciences (CUG) in Wuhan is the partner institution with CIAU. When CUG’s hospital released an urgent call for medical supplies for its patients and more than 500 international students on the campus, CIAU responded. Although there was a shortage of medical protective equipment in America as well as in China, CIAU staff donated money and managed to collect 40 pounds of surgical masks and gloves from local pharmacies, which were donated to CUG hospital.

At the Lunar New Year Gala held on the Alfred University campus Feb. 1, guests at the celebration signed on the “Be Strong, Wuhan” poster, and contributed money toward a fund to help Wuhan. CIAU used donations to purchase medical supplies for donations to CUG. A second donation of medical masks and protective coveralls was sent to CUG and Alfred University alumni living in Wuhan.

Masks for area residents are available at the following Alfred businesses: Alfred Pharmacy, Terra Cotta Coffee House, and Rogue Carrot. When you make a visit to any one of these businesses, please ask for two masks per person in your household. Wu said if people need more than two masks, they can request up to five per person by sending an email to CIAU at ciau@alfred.edu.

The CIAU is continuing to contact donors in China and hopes that more masks will be delivered shortly. “We hope that these masks will not only help our community to protect themselves, but also give them the courage to overcome difficulties,” Wu commented.