Students create document to funnel resources for peers affected by COVID-19

Student leaders have published a spreadsheet on which students can communicate their needs and offer support to peers as COVID-19 continues to impact student life.

Officials have canceled counseling appointments, disbanded student organization activities, moved classes online and closed residence halls for the remainder of the semester to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The GW Mutual Aid spreadsheet – which Student Association Executive Vice President Amy Martin and Yannik Omictin, the SA’s vice president for governmental relations, created last week – allows people to request help or post resources for housing, transportation or storage needs, including pet and plant care, health care and food.

“We’ve noticed a ton of you reaching out to others in search of support during this confusing, stressful time, and we wanted to make it easier for everyone to share what they have with students who need it,” Omictin said in a Facebook post to the Overheard at GW page.

The spreadsheet mirrors similar documents created by students at Middlebury College and University of Michigan, according to the document’s landing page.

“Though campus will remain open, many of you will be left with significant hurdles to overcome,” the spreadsheet states. “We know we can only get through this together, so we’ve created this spreadsheet to allow GW students and others to share their resources with others who may be in search of housing, healthcare, transportation and other kinds of support.”

Martin said in an interview that she curated the document with Omictin in one night, looking at other universities’ mutual aid sheets to determine what resources to offer, and hopes the spreadsheet will provide support for students who cannot currently be with their families.

“It’s a good template for everybody who is opening their hearts and opening their homes and interested in supporting their peers at this time,” Martin said.

Omictin said he and Amy created the spreadsheet to help students fulfill needs “without having to go to the ends of the earth.” He added that the document provides comfort and a “lifeline” to students whose lives have been impacted by changes officials have made in light of COVID-19.

“The mere existence of a spreadsheet like it, that’s being constantly checked and added to by students, is also a moving symbol of GW’s resilience,” Omictin said.

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