Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

covid 10 2020

(Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the “Students_Against_COVID” movement. The opinions expressed reflect the movement’s position on the issue.


A virtual Agora bringing together 150 + students & allies across 40+ countries to empower each other’s voices

It started with a simple tweet by fourth year University of Michigan Medical and Public Health student, Marina Haque. She called upon others worldwide to use the hashtag #Students_Against_COVID to share how they were fighting against the novel virus strain that dramatically continues to change the world around us.

Within 10 days, use of the hashtag has brought 150+ students and allies together across 40+ countries. Inspired by a drive to help address the challenges COVID-19 has introduced into our society, the students have contributed their unique voices, passions, and skill sets to exchange innovative ideas between countries, promote personal protective equipment (PPE) collection, help translate COVID-19 information flyers into 35+ languages, and promote well-being with the goal of sending a clear message that we are all in this together.

Overall, #Students_Against_COVID strives to create a common platform for students & allies across the globe to share ideas, brainstorm together, and collaborate in an efficient and socially responsible manner during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic.

As COVID-19, a contagious respiratory illness, spreads across the globe and kills thousands in its wake, it endangers our global economy, general public, and healthcare workers. Students Against COVID (SAC) has formed in response to these challenges. Although the virus may keep students at home, it cannot keep them from innovating, strategizing, and finding actionable ways to contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

Only about 20 days into the movement, the group has formed multiple regional and project teams. “When one part of the team sleeps, the other half wakes up, and so someone is always working!”, says Adriana Viola Miranda, an Indonesian medical student spearheading the social media team.

Teams consist of students and allies from different disciplines across the globe working on various initiatives such as championing awareness about the collaboration platform, to a team dedicated to sharing clinical knowledge more effectively given the growing crisis.

There’s also SAC members connecting independently via the platform already, sharing innovative methods they’ve used in one low-middle income country with students from another low-middle income country on how to address shortages in critical supplies, such as hand sanitizers.

As Haque’s hashtag circulated across twitter, she connected first with health care students worldwide. The initial team began with Christos Tsagkaris (medical student from Greece and Editor in Chief of the European Student Think Tank),  Faisal Nawaz (medical student from UAE), Dr. Ahsan Ali (public health student originally from Pakistan), and Ana Sofia Mota (medical student from Portugal). By bringing volunteers in one by one across the globe, their volunteers exponentially grew within the first week to comprise of students and allies from various backgrounds.

Their video design team, for example, is spearheaded by Arusa Ilyas, a British medical student; their translation team by Shanmin Sultana, an American undergraduate public health student; and their outreach efforts largely facilitated by Aman Tahir, an American high school student.

Their logo was further designed by Ashley John, an American undergraduate student, who used a group motto developed by Tsagkaris based on Greek mythology: when you want to make waves, you need to be willing to rock the boat.

Tsagkaris further envisioned the movement had the potential to resemble an ancient Agora. Agora, a dynamic civic space in ancient Greek city-states, was the center of the athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political life in the city. It was in the Agora that you could chat with philosophers and intellectual thinkers such as Socrates and Sophocles, or encounter leaders and policymakers such as Pericles. In the democratic Agora of Athens philosophy, arts and humanities flourished hand in hand with concrete decision making and transparency.

Two thousand years later, #Students_Against_COVID serves as a virtual Agora where students and allies across the globe cross paths, bring up ideas, exchange constructive feedback, and build synergies. Under the European notion of “Act – React – Impact” the movement seeks for students and allies across academic and professional disciplines in Europe as well as other parts of the globe to unite those dedicated to championing science during this crisis.

 

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