Faculty Respond to COVID in Support of Communities

From supplying critical gear to helping people in need, faculty in the College of Business have stepped up to the challenges COVID-19 has presented. Here are just a couple of examples of how our faculty have made a difference.  

Tracking critical PPE supplies

Back in early February, when Professor Zhaohui Wu hosted members of the Supply Chain and Logistics Management advisory council in Austin Hall, the forum covered the kinds of issues it usually takes on.

Members such as Brian Moe from Avid delved into the recoverability of plastics in the recycling process, for example, while Steven Pedrosa discussed Intel's end-to-end supply chain. And Debbie Dennis, the chief procurement officer of the State of Oregon, presented a microcase on disaster preparation.

Within weeks, though, the group was back into intense communication, planning actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, namely around the dire need for medical supplies

"When the pandemic hit, our faculty and our council member Dianne Lancaster, who is the chief learning officer of NASPO, called out for help, and the council members immediately began planning," says Wu.The framework the group would create would help critical supplies reach healthcare providers. 

NASPO, which stands for the National Association of State Procurement Officials, is a national organization that supports best practices and innovative procurement strategies. NASPO essentially works with governmental and municipalities to achieve parity and transparency throughout the procurement process to benefit taxpayers and citizens.This has been especially important during the pandemic, as Oreogn and other states have scrambled to make sure doctors, nurses and other providers are equipped to deal with COVID cases. 

The council worked with NASPO to coordinate logistical efforts to o route donations of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) from businesses throughout Oregon and Washington to organizations that work directly with healthcare providers.

Driven by council member Eric Gonzalez, the group tracked inventory of items such as isopropyl alcohol, surgical masks, disposable coveralls and hand sanitizer, connecting supply chain experts with suppliers nationwide. According to Wu, NASPO soon took lead on the project in order to expand its reach. NASPO brought its other partner universities into the forum and created a web-based platform for PPE information sharing.

The Supply Chain and Logistics Management advisory council continues to participate through the NASPO-hosted sites and forum, adding to OSU’s effort to donate more than 200,000 pairs of gloves, and other medical supplies to hospitals in Oregon.

Leveraging the virtual community to make a difference

Chad Murphy, assistant professor of management, has leveraged his (not-so) secret life as the creative-mind behind the popular Lord Birthday cartoons to raise funds among his 250,000 Instagram followers to help people in need pay for essentials like groceries, a portion of a rent bill and phone bills. 

Those who need emergency cash can submit an email to birthdaychurch@gmail.com, describe their need and include a receipt or bill. Murphy is prioritizing donations of less than $250, so he can help a greater number of people.

He funds the resource through art sales — books, single cartoons, or a tee-shirt with his "Be Sturdy and Full of Hope" message. The sale of the $30 tee-shirt moves $18 into the emergency relief fund.

"A huge majority of our sales have been for the lowest-priced items," Murphy says. "So these small contributions have really carried the whole project forward."

Murphy’s Lord Birthday persona has raised $16,000 so far.

The effort garnered the attention from news outlets including The Oregonian for their #TeamOregon stories of kindness projects, OSU Today and a spirited review of the project from student media outlet, Orange Media Beaver Digest.

Murphy says he intends to grow the relief project. "Given what’s happening in the world, I will be expanding the scope of the payouts to include support for people and organizations fighting racial injustice," he said.