A group of dedicated and generous Wesleyan alumnae shared their time and sewing skills this summer helping their alma mater prepare for the safe beginning of a new academic year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all students, faculty, and staff were required to wear a face mask while on campus.
The plan was for alumnae volunteers to sew enough masks so that everyone returning for fall semester would be provided a mask, with students receiving masks in class colors. The goal was to make 700 masks in about a month. With planning and organization spearheaded by Flo Williams Douglas ’67, Jane Price Claxton ’68, and Glennda Kingry Elliott ’65, more than 850 masks were completed and ready to ship to campus in less than three weeks. Flo Douglas said, “A number of ‘2nd wavers’ are continuing this effort, so I have no doubt we will break the 1,000 mark. It is amazing and awe-inspiring that these women are showing the true colors of sisterhood. Thank you, thank you, ‘Stitchin’ Sisters!’”
The project kicked off with a Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 9, for all interested alumnae where President Fowler, Director of Library Services Kristi Peavy, and Flo Douglas explained the goal and demonstrated how to make a mask according to the guidelines specified by Wesleyan’s COVID-19 Task Force. On Tuesday, July 14, ten volunteers attended a “Sew-In” in Willet Library, safely distanced themselves, and got the mask-making project started. Additionally, more than two-dozen alumnae from across the country requested kits to make masks from home. By the end of the project a total of 49 participants were involved in the mask-making project, representing five decades of class years and all levels of sewing skills.
These special masks were colorfully packaged along with a tags letting recipients know all masks were hand made by Wesleyan alumnae. On September 24 a Thank You Reception was held on The Loggia honoring project volunteers. A special quilted “mask” banner, made from left-over class colored fabric scraps and created by WCAA Past President Melanie Filson Lewis ’93, was dedicated to project participants whose names appear on the back of the banner. The banner currently hangs outside Student Life offices in Olive Swann Porter Building. (To date more than 1400 masks have been made.)