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Grand Valley donates about 90,000 disposable gloves to regional medical system

  • Grand Valley donated about 90,000 gloves to Spectrum Health.
  • Grand Valley donated about 90,000 gloves to Spectrum Health.
  • Grand Valley donated about 90,000 gloves to Spectrum Health.

Posted on March 23, 2020

About 90,000 disposable gloves used in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences labs are now with Spectrum Health to help boost strained medical resources during the COVID-19 crisis.

Michelle DeWitt, lead lab supervisor for the Chemistry Department, knew about the ample supply of gloves and decided to work with her cousin, who is part of the Spectrum Health Foundation team, to see about donating them. After only a few hours of logistics, the gloves were loaded onto a truck from Spectrum Health.

DeWitt said she was inspired by a tweet from President Philomena V. Mantella to help the community.

"It seemed like the right thing to do," DeWitt said. "We don't want the doctors, nurses and other health professionals to get sick. We want them to be able to help us."

Grand Valley donated more than 400 boxes of gloves, DeWitt said. Most of the gloves were for chemistry labs — DeWitt noted about 6,000 students take chemistry each year with multiple experiments in their courses — but gloves are also used in other CLAS laboratories.

The Nitrile gloves are used in the labs when students and faculty members are handling chemicals that, for instance, are corrosive or could absorb into the skin, said Aaron Perry, director of laboratory services. His team buys a year's supply to have on hand.

"Since the students aren't going to be here, and we have them, I'd rather have them go to good use," Perry said.

The gloves were first taken to a Spectrum Health distribution center and will be parceled out as needed, said Danielle DeWitt, '05 and '09, senior Foundation specialist for donor relations and stewardship.

Danielle DeWitt said this donation is part the overall generosity she and her colleagues have seen from the community, businesses and institutions to help with the resource challenges created by the pandemic.

"It’s a good reminder of the humanity that comes out in times like these," she said. "It’s nice to see everybody coming together, and as a Grand Valley alum I'm super proud of this."