Wellesley Chapter of Students vs. Pandemics Combats the Coronavirus Through Community

Hannah Ryu
Author  Katie Noah Gibson
Published on 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, students at Wellesley and around the country were suddenly faced with new and daunting challenges: adjusting to remote learning, missing their on-campus activities and relationships, and generally navigating a world that suddenly looked very different.

Many existing student organizations at the College took their activities online, holding meetings, performances, and other activities over Zoom. This fall, a new student group joined the efforts to help students stay connected: the Wellesley chapter of Students vs. Pandemics (SvP). The broader SvP organization, started by Harvard graduate students, has chapters at several U.S. and Canadian universities that bring students together and encourage them to help their communities navigate the pandemic.

“I wanted to create an organization that would help strengthen the sense of community, especially for incoming first-years and others who started the fall 2020 semester remotely,” said Hannah Ryu ’23, founder and president of WellesleySvP. “The pandemic is bringing unimaginable challenges. And since Wellesley students are currently all over the world, we are all facing changes in our lives in different ways.”

WellesleySvP seeks to support the campus community through several ongoing projects. One is a virtual lecture series featuring experts addressing different aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. “We have had two fantastic lectures about the science behind the virus and how the pandemic is affecting mental health,” Ryu said, adding that the group plans to continue the lecture series this spring. The group is also conducting a storytelling campaign, Wellesley Humans of Pandemics, to gather and amplify student stories from the pandemic. “We aim to hear, acknowledge, and share Wellesley student voices from all over the world to strengthen the community and to support each other,” Ryu said.

This spring, the group will launch two new projects: Cards for Cures, a video card project, will feature student performers sharing messages of hope and resilience, and expressing gratitude to health care workers and others on the front lines of the pandemic. Mask for Me is a fundraiser with the goal of providing a reusable mask of the same design for all Wellesley students, providing both personal protection and an added form of connection through a common object.

“The major challenges are not only physical, but also mental and social,” Ryu said. All students are welcome to join WellesleySvP and contribute to its work by reaching out via Facebook, Instagram, or email.