Student and staff volunteers step up to help isolating students

29 March 2022 | News

Large numbers of Lincoln University staff and student volunteers have rushed to the aid of self-isolating students since the University’s first COVID-19 cases arose in late February.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards said Lincoln’s top priority remained caring for the health and wellbeing of its students and staff, and the University whānau had risen to the unprecedented challenges of recent times.

“We have a process in place to identify each new case, and our response mechanism, crewed mainly by volunteers, kicks in immediately to cater to each individual case’s needs.

“We are pleased to welcome back students and staff who have recovered as soon as they feel able to return to campus, and we will continue to provide every support necessary to those who remain in self-isolation.

“The dedicated efforts of our volunteers to support each and every member of our whānau in need is inspirational and truly extraordinary.”

Acting Director of Customer Engagement and Experience Jaime Shone said the support services being rolled out to self-isolators by the team of 60+ staff and student volunteers included the delivery of meals three times daily, welfare callers, healthcare drivers, grocery and care pack preparation and delivery, as well as the sourcing and delivery of bespoke care hampers to students on behalf of their parents and caregivers.

“Our volunteer team have been creating and delivering care packs for students living in University accommodation or independent flats who are unable to go out and buy groceries, study items or any other essential goods. So far we’ve delivered more than 60 packs, and we’ll keep the deliveries going as long as they’re needed.

“We’re also delivering on average 120 meals per day and making around 40 welfare calls – isolating students receive a call at least twice during their period of isolation.

“Our workers are busy, but they’re loving being a part of the volunteer effort and helping people get through some very tough times.

“A particular highlight for the team was arriving at a student flat to deliver some much-needed groceries only to see all eight of their grateful faces looking eagerly out at us from their window.”

Parents and caregivers have also been in touch with the University to convey their thanks.

I would like to let you know how amazing the support was for my daughter whilst she had COVID recently. She is second year and first year flatting from the North Island. As her Mum I feel very grateful for the phone calls and support she received. It was awesome. Thank you so much.

The Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) and Te Awhioraki Māori Students’ Association are also handing out care packs to all accommodation students who are ill or isolating.

LUSA General Manager Jack Swannell said it was important to ensure all students knew they were supported during this difficult time.

“In addition to the care packs, LUSA and Te Awhioraki have also organised for cookies, lollies and chocolate to be handed out to all students who are well enough to collect their own meals from the Dining Hall, as we want everyone to feel included in the manaakitaka.”