By Athletic Communications Assistant Alex McKeon

BEREA, Ohio – The global COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of unprecedented challenges for people of all ages. For students pursuing a college degree who happen to come down with the illness, the isolation needed to recover could prove difficult for a plethora of reasons.

For many college students, attending a university is a chance to experience independence for the first time. If a student is confined to their dorm room for the purpose of isolation, it could create a unique situation where a student is truly alone for the first time in their lives. Luckily, the Baldwin Wallace University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has created a program to ease that stress and make those days easier.

Under the direction of Laura Demaline, the Head Coach of the Yellow Jackets Swimming & Diving program and the Coordinator of Student Athlete Services, the athletic department has developed an initiative to send care packages to quarantined students.

"Our BW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is always looking for ways to improve our student-athlete experience,” said Demaline. “We are a committee made up of Yellow Jacket athletes, so when we heard of our fellow athletes and BW students being in quarantine and isolation due to COVID-19, we knew that we had the resources to try to make the situation just a bit better. Care packages from home have a way of brightening our day - just knowing that someone is thinking about you; we thought the same would be true for our BW students in quarantine/isolation.”

If a student is quarantined, simple things like getting supplies or food become increasingly difficult. In addition, so much is still unknown about the virus that isolation times aren’t always standard or well known, making the process all the more stressful for students who experience this.

“We just tried to pick things that were good snack items, and reasonably healthy,” said Demaline. “We did include a cup of noodles because I think chicken noodle soup is thought to help people feel better and feel "at home". We [also] included a note in each basket that said: "Yellow Jacket Nation is thinking of you and wishing you a great day! AwwJackets!".

Each care package features a number of treats including Gatorade, water, a cup of noodles, candy bars, Teddy Grahams as well as various other snacks.

Demaline is hopeful this initiative not only improves morale in a trying time across the world, but also shows the support from the athletic department, SAAC and the value that comes from the simple kindness of strangers.

“Our YJ quarantine care packages are a way we can let our students know that we are thinking about that - and that we care about them, two very important messages,” said Demaline. “Plus, yummy snacks and goodies are always a good thing! Hopefully, students being in isolation and quarantine is not something that will be long term reality on our campus, but as long as we need to, we will be delivering our baskets to share some Yellow Jacket love and support!"