The future leaders and innovators of tomorrow pitched in to offer support, ideas, and leadership in response to needs brought about due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We honor the resourcefulness and care for the common good that is reflected in our graduate students’ actions — from the remarkable effort of mobilizing teaching online, to the extra care in supporting an undergraduate student in one of their teaching sections, to putting aside their own research in order to manufacture mass amounts of hand sanitizer. The graduate community’s generous response to this crisis has been inspiring.

A few of the many ways that graduate students rallied for the common good are illustrated in these stories.


Clockwise top left: Marie Rajon Bernard, Toni Adetayo, Nitasha Goyal, and Marcel Schaack. Courtesy of SF Food Friends.

I-House Residents Fighting COVID-19, One Care Package at a Time

Graduate students Nitasha Goyal, Marcel Schaack, Marie Rajon Bernard, and Oluwatoni “Toni” Adetayo, created SF Food Friends, a volunteer-matching program to help at-risk residents of San Francisco get their groceries and medication delivered to them by low-risk volunteers in the area.

Delivering California COVID-19 Stories to the Nation

The Graduate School of Journalism collaborated with the New York Times to launch a COVID-19 reporting initiative. More than 80 graduate students and nearly 20 instructors formed teams to cover how the novel corona virus is impacting California. Student-generated content is also being published in top media outlets, including The Atlantic, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. The initiative is not only a learning opportunity for students, but also benefits audiences who need it most.

‘Liquid gold’: Grad Students Provide Free Hand Sanitizer for the Needy

What began as an effort by graduate student Abrar Abidi and his colleague Yvonne Hao to make hand sanitizer for themselves and their labmates before shelter-in-place mandates restricted them from their lab, soon became a full-on production supporting hundreds.

With the support of faculty and help from volunteers, they manufactured and distributed free sanitizer to dozens of Bay Area locations in need including homeless shelters, senior centers, and jails. Said assembly member Buffy Wicks (AD-15) of the effort, “We’ve been continually inspired by what these students have proven to be possible. They’ve set the bar high for the spirit of service – in our district, and beyond.”

Categories: Graduate Division Announcements, September 2020