Students for Life Hosts Letter Campaign to Support Essential Workers

Students for Life letter writing campaignAlthough the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the annual LIFE Week, USD's Students for Life club has started a letter-writing campaign to support essential workers.

In a time of uncertainty and the realization that a major adjustment to our everyday routine has occurred because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, there is still one constant to center us all — the value of life.

“If we have learned anything from quarantine, it is that all life has value,” said members of the University of San Diego club Students for Life. “Today, we protect the most vulnerable members of our community by wearing masks, washing our hands and social distancing. But we also have a responsibility to think about the vulnerable groups that existed before the pandemic including the unborn, the homeless, the incarcerated and many more. Location and size should not determine the value of life. We hope to take this precious time to appreciate and care for life from the womb to the tomb.”

Students for Life, which is run by University Ministry, has long served the campus community with visible community engagement throughout San Diego County.

As the pandemic in mid-March shifted USD’s spring semester to remote teaching and learning, students went back to their homes, families and got off campus. Many scheduled events were either moved to a virtual platform or cancelled. Students for Life’s signature spring event, Life Is For Everyone (LIFE) Week, did not take place, but that did not stop the organization from wanting to make a difference.

“Although we did not get to host our annual LIFE Week on campus, our club took different measures to show our appreciation for life,” said Corina Martinez, Students for Life president. “We created a letter campaign that would potentially allow students in our club to write personal letters to someone working on the front lines of the coronavirus. The letter serves as an act of gratitude, whether this person is a healthcare worker or a truck driver, we wanted to let them know we are thinking of them during this time.”

The leadership team also sent out daily emails during the week of what would have been LIFE Week (March 30-April 3). Each leader wrote about a specific LIFE Week topic and what they would have done that day if they were together.

“We utilized both our letter campaign and our social media platforms — specifically Instagram, @usdstudentsforlife — to stay connected with our members without putting too much pressure on them during such a challenging time," Martinez said. "We understand that our members are faced with new challenges and feel that we, as a club, can grow in community through these small actions."

While it hasn’t been easy, Martinez, incoming Co-President Rachel Shellstrom and Students for Life Publicity Chairperson Mary-Logan Miske and the club are determined to make an impact.

“As a club, we needed to adapt to the way that life was rapidly changing just like everything else,” Martinez said. “Some of the key pillars of Students for Life are education and service. The leadership team met several times over Zoom to figure out how to continue educating and serving online. Mary-Logan had the wonderful idea of making informative Instagram posts to share positive news stories we discovered throughout the week. We also decided on a simple service project that members and leaders could work on at home, sending letters to medical and other essential workers.”

The leaders said the letter campaign is a work in progress. The team is busy compiling lists of medical and other essential workers it personally knows. Most of the letters sent so far are to workers in California because that is where members currently reside.

“We’ve been able to connect with UPS drivers, postal service deliverers and COVID unit nurses,” Shellstrom said. “In the last week we have sent about 15 letters and we plan to expand the campaign as the fight against the virus continues. Recently, we received contact information from Sharp Hospital and San Diego Fire Department. We look forward to reaching out to them next!”

Summertime is near, but Students for Life members plan to keep the momentum going.

“We would love to keep the campaign going this summer to keep sharing our gratitude to those who are working to create normalcy during this challenging time,” Shellstrom said. “Students on our club’s mailing list have been sent a link to a ‘Thank You’ letter template as well as a list of suggested prayers and inspirational quotes to customize the letter.”

Anyone wanting to participate in the letter campaign can email and a member of the leadership team will reply with the template link. You can also email them your address(es) and the club will email the letters for you and CC you to the email. Feel free to write your letter(s) to any friends, family or neighbors who are essential workers.

— Ryan T. Blystone


USD News Center
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