On Tuesday, April 27, there will be a COVID-19 Pop-Up educational event on campus to provide students with information regarding COVID-19, vaccines and the immune system. The event will be in person from 4-6 p.m. at the Riley Ellipse and the Dougherty tent area. This was put together and will be hosted by Joseph Comber and Elaine Youngman, professors in the Department of Biology, as well as Aimee Eggler, a professor in the Biochemistry Program.
Throughout the past year, faculty from both the Biology and Biochemistry departments have met to talk about the pandemic and ways to make sure that people have access to scientifically supported information to help keep everyone safe. With the weather becoming warmer, they have the perfect opportunity to address the University as a whole in a way that gives everyone a break from Zoom lectures or webinars.
“We noticed that information about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 is being communicated from many places - the CDC, WHO, state and local health departments - and that sometimes this communication doesn’t match,” Comber said. “When communication isn’t clear or accurate, it is open to misinterpretation. Our major goal with this event is to engage the Villanova community with clear, accurate, empowering information so that they can better understand the pandemic and mechanisms that we have available to stop the pandemic.”
Comber will be running a table at the event dedicated to the immune system. He will explain how the immune system generates a response after being exposed to a pathogen, such as SARS-CoV-2, from memory. He will also be talking about the concept of herd immunity and vaccination, which will become important for students and faculty as the University hopes to transition back to a normal in-person fall semester.
In order to make the table more interactive and engaging, Comber plans to use printed PowerPoint slides with helpful information and cartoons, as well as glo-germ and glitter to help demonstrate how pathogens are able to spread.
Eggler will be running a table about vaccines.
“Biology major Jordan McCarthy is the lead student on the table design, with help from Katie Collar and Elise Miller, and with faculty Drs. Noelle Comolli and Bill Kelly from Chemical Engineering also supporting,” Eggler said. “We’ve got FAQ, the latest data, and the reasons why vaccination is a critical part of keeping COVID-19 from continuing to affect our campus, country, and the world.”
This table will also have an interactive “What-if?” pin-up board for students to see the benefits of the vaccine. Students will either fill in the end of the sentence, “If I got the COVID-19 vaccine, I would…” or “If we all got vaccinated, we would…”
As a possible answer, Eggler offered, “Attend Villanova basketball games again.”
Both Comber and Eggler make it clear that this is an important event for students to attend to ensure that everyone is properly educated and can make informed decisions in regards to the pandemic.
“I think this event will help give students and other attendees a better understanding about the pandemic as a whole,” Comber said. “From immunity, to transmission, to testing, to vaccination, I hope people come away more knowledgeable. Better information and understanding will help us end the pandemic more quickly, and let us be back to the community we’re used to.”
“The event is a resource to get your questions answered, and having a lot of us there together shows our VU support for science-based education about the virus and a healthy community,” Eggler said. “Join Will D. Cat and your fellow students, and get a cool mask too.”
If one is feeling hesitant about receiving the vaccine, looking for answers to COVID-19 related questions or just wanting a free mask, make sure to show up to the COVID-19 Pop-Up event on Tuesday and show support for the community.