Welcome Back Kits: Preparing to Return to Campus

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

From the beginning of the pandemic, the UNC Charlotte community has been in this together. With the return of on-campus classes beginning tomorrow and through the many important discussions, safety installations, cleaning processes, physical distancing and face-covering practices, we have been looking out for each other. Assembling the welcome-back-to-campus kits for students, faculty and staff was an exemplary act of teamwork and care for those around us. With each volunteer’s help, whether they volunteered once, a couple of days, every day and even those who brought their friends and family to help, 35,000 envelopes of kits were assembled, sealed and delivered, all because of the amazing UNC Charlotte volunteers from all divisions.

Each kit contained a folder with general safety information, including an Emergency Management wallet card and a handout. A laptop Niner Pledge sticker, a trifold brochure with safety information and a letter from Chancellor Gaber were also included in the kit. Faculty and staff also received a postcard with specific resources and a magnet with general safety information to display in their offices.

In addition to the folder, each kit contained a clear, stadium-approved UNC Charlotte tote bag, two branded and reusable cloth face coverings, three disposable masks, one refillable hand sanitizer and a thermometer. The kit is one part of UNC Charlotte’s strategy to protect the health and safety of Niner Nation, complementing the Niner Health Check screening and COVID-19 testing protocol available this semester. 

Under the coordination of Katharina Findlater, Rachel Skipworth, Rick Torres, Horace Lytch, Jody Thompson and Ken Field, volunteers created the packets from over 560,000 items. This effort used almost 200 volunteer hours each day throughout eight days of volunteering. 

Katharina Findlater, executive assistant to the vice chancellor of business affairs, owes their success to the organizers and the teamwork across multiple divisions and departments. 

“Rick Torres and Rachel Skipworth are the brains behind this operation,” said Findlater. “They are such hard workers, super organized and simply amazing to work with. Seeing all the volunteers come out to support this was so rewarding. Some brought friends and family with them or came every day. Some volunteered as much as they possibly could. Every little bit helped to finish.”

As students, faculty and staff come back to campus, the University hopes the packets will equip the UNC Charlotte community to stay healthy, safe and Niner Ready. 

(Article & Photography by: Jordan Estabrook)