The help of students and employees of FEA MU during the pandemic

29 Jun 2020 Dagmar Špalková

Veronika Podolská distributes face masks; source: Facebook CSR Rychnovsko.

During the difficult period caused by the spread of coronavirus infection, the university and its faculties came together and began offering help to those in need. Many students and employees of the Faculty of Economics and Administration also offered their helping hand, either through the MU Volunteer Center or independently.

Masks for hospitals, nursing homes and shopping for the elderly

Almost the entire Czech nation began sewing masks during coronavirus. There was a huge solidarity and many people, including our students and employees, sewed masks not only for themselves, their relatives and friends, but also for hospitals, retirement homes, children's homes, socially disadvantaged citizens and the homeless.

E.g. our student Veronika Podolská was responsible for the creation of a mask-vending machine in the Rychnov region, which was established as the second in the Czech Republic and thus helped to distribute masks to citizens who did not have the opportunity to acquire them. Sewing and distribution of masks was also provided by others, such as Ms Andrea Holešinská from the Department of Regional Economics and Administration. "People were pleased with the masks. I even received thank-you messages", says Ms Holešinská.

Jana Prokešová helping with the shopping.

For many seniors, who are among the most at risk, volunteers from our students helped with food and medicine purchases, lunch delivery and various issues. One of these volunteers was student Jana Prokešová captured above.

Help in testing tents and in the tent town for the homeless

In the second half of April, the Czech government decided to carry out a study of collective immunity and it was necessary to find a large number of volunteers in a very short time. The MU Volunteer Center and its call through social networks played an important role. Student Martina Tkadlecová describes what happened in the testing tents: “I took two consecutive shifts straight away, so I spent almost 12 hours in Bohunice near the campus measuring the temperature of the test participants, helping to fill in the forms and helping with the smooth running of the entire test. 

Martina Tkadlecová measuring the temperature of the test participants.

Other students began helping homeless people in a tent town in Brno. They provided food, clothing, hygiene items, measured people's temperatures and helped with cleaning. Homeless people were very grateful for this care and help, which is confirmed by student Katarína Vargicová: "As for the clients in the tent town, I think they are very grateful for access to water, food and showers."

Coordination, challenges and other activities

All activities had to be coordinated to ensure that the help reached people quickly and efficiently. The MU Volunteer Center itself played a major role, in which our students also "served" eight and multi-hour shifts, responded to inquiries and needed help thanks to a database of volunteers, which now has around 4,500 members. "The work consisted of connecting volunteers with the recipients of help, later I was also the operator of the crisis line, where people who needed help in any way, or sometimes just to comfort, called," describes student Eliška Cyprianová.

Other students tried to use leaflets to inform about volunteering and the possibility of asking for help. "Together with my classmate Ondra Tichý, we founded the initiative Together against coronavirus, through which we encouraged others to help people around them," describes student Jakub Kopecký. He also explains what led him to help others: "Being a volunteer and helping others would not have probably occurred to me. But I was convinced by the call of the rector Bareš."

The students of the faculty also helped with babysitting in hospitals or in their surroundings, tutored, or helped clearing rooms in the dormitories for their Slovak classmates, who could not get to the Czech Republic during the closure of the border.

Many thanks to all students and employees who have engaged in volunteering in any way and helped others to overcome these challenging times, showed solidarity with those in need and devoted their time to beneficial activities.

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