University School of Milwaukee teachers, students, and parents have dramatically shifted how they teach and learn amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but many members of our community have taken things one step further. From organizing a supply drive to benefit Milwaukee Public Schools to fundraising and PPE production using 3-D printers from the school’s Lubar Center for Innovation and Exploration, the USM community is committed to helping others.
Fighting Hunger One Bagel at a Time
When a group of Upper School student council members took over selling bagels as part of the organization’s Conference Café in fall, they could not have guessed they’d be raising funds to help fight a global pandemic by spring. But thanks to the students’ efforts, they now have more than $1,400 to donate to Feeding America to support families facing hunger due to COVID-19.
Every Wednesday when school was in session, members of Conference Café sold fresh Einstein Bros. bagels and cream cheese during Flex. “It’s nice to have something to eat that’s an alternative from a vending machine snack,” said Rahul Mullick ’20. “We’d sell out pretty much every week,” added Thomas Wright ’21.
In addition to Feeding America, the group has also donated $300 of their profits to support research in the fight against Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS), in support of an Upper School student who is fighting the disease.
After USM transitioned to distance learning, the group started selling T-shirts to continue their fundraising efforts. “Sitting at home, we realized a lot of people are in desperate need and we wanted to help,” said Neil Dogra ’21. “We decided on Feeding America as the nonprofit we wanted to partner with. We designed a long-sleeve t-shirt and we’re currently at 43 sales. We’re hoping to add that money to the profits we made from selling bagels to support Feeding America.”
PPE Production from Home
In early April, two USM faculty members and a current parent partnered to produce face shields. Using a Swedish design, David Anderson, innovation engineer; Tom Mussoline, Preschool, Lower School, and Middle School academic technology coordinator; and Chris Otjen ’84, 3-D printed more than 600 frames and shields that could be assembled to form face shields. Anderson and Mussoline brought 3-D printers from the school’s Lubar Center for Innovation and Exploration to their homes, which they used to produce the frames around the clock.
After working on the frames, Anderson then turned his attention to the production of N95-prototype face masks. Under the guidance of school partners from Concordia University Wisconsin, Anderson is producing roughly 25 masks per day.