Columbia Alumni Associations in Asia Offer Aid and Support

Jianfei Zhu, Yuan Wang, and Yimei Lu from the Columbia Alumni Association prepare a shipment of PPE in Shanghai to send to Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Jianfei Zhu ’19LAW, Yuan Wang ’08LAW, and Yimei Lu ’14LAW prepare a shipment in Shanghai. (Columbia Alumni Association)

This spring, as word spread that hospitals in the Northeast, including Columbia University Irving Medical Center and its affiliates, were experiencing a massive demand for personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses, and other personnel, members of Columbia’s vast Chinese alumni network quickly stepped forward to help.

More than a dozen alumni associations across Greater China, including the Columbia Alumni Associations of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Chengdu, came together to donate millions of face masks and thousands of goggles, gloves, and protective suits. Members of the Columbia Alumni Association in Taiwan also joined the efforts, helping to source and ship cases of PDI Sani-Cloth AF3, a germicidal disposable wipe that is in short supply. The alumni associations report that the initiative has raised more than $2 million in cash and in-kind donations for hospitals in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Thomas Lo ’08PS, director of the Columbia Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Alumni Board, delivering a box of PPE to Columbia Medical Center
Thomas Lo '08PS. (Columbia Alumni Association)

Amelia Alverson, executive vice president for University development and alumni relations, notes that there were so many offers of help that her Irving Medical Center colleagues were overwhelmed by the volume of e-mails. The response not only demonstrated altruism, she says, but underscored the fact that “Columbia alumni are always ready to help solve real-world challenges and engage on a global level.”