A Little Light in the Darkness: Positive Student Responses To The Coronavirus Pandemic


There is no arguing that the news is unpleasant to read these days. Headlines tracking death counts, reporting staggering unemployment rates, and warning that “the worst is yet to come” make it very difficult to remain positive during these tumultuous times. However, as can be expected from an innovative and driven community like Brown’s, several students have risen to the occasion to create incredible disaster response initiatives, relief efforts and impactful ways to pass the time. Below are just a few of the many inspiring fundraisers, organizations and initiatives that students have thought up, along with ways you can get involved! 

Please be sure to share them with your friends and family!


Initiative: Feed the Frontlines NYC

Instagram: @feedthefrontlines

Website:  https://www.feedthefrontlinesnyc.org/

About:  Brown senior Stephanie Kendler has become involved in this organization because it was started by her best friend from high school and her family. Feed the Frontlines NYC delivers free meals to hospital workers in NYC. The company is looking to expand across the US and into Canada in the coming weeks. From their website:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down many of our local restaurants while healthcare professionals continue to work on the frontlines to keep us all safe.  Sponsored by your generosity, Feed the Frontlines NYC supports Tarallucci e Vino and other NYC restaurants by creating opportunities for their employees to prepare and distribute free meals for hospital workers around our city.”

How you can help: You can either donate or help to spread the link to people who might be interested in donating, work in the hospital system, or have their own struggling restaurants. You can also follow the instagram to see content and updates!


Initiative: Remote Learning Pals

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://remotelearningpals.com/

Form to get involved: Remote Learning Pals Google Form

About: Started by Brown sophomores Nora Woodruff (our very own Co-Campus Correspondent!!), Sofia Salvadore (one of our proud chapter members!!), and their sisters, Remote Learning Pals is a virtual tutoring and mentorship service designed to help kids acutely impacted by COVID-19 with overwhelmed parents who now have to take on the additional task of homeschooling. From their website: “We are a platform aimed at matching willing volunteers with students in need of mentors during this unprecedented time. Our goal is to establish a community that harnesses talent and good will to reduce the anxieties of remote learning.”

The founders’ hope is that volunteers will establish a relationship with and help guide their student through their remote learning experience, in a time when the student does not have the same support system that he or she normally depends on. Volunteers' efforts will have a real impact in their student’s life during these unprecedented times, and the program will be designed such that volunteers’ required time commitment will not be excessively burdensome. 

How you can help: If you have enough time, sign up to be a virtual mentor! It is a great way to both keep yourself busy and do something impactful! If you don’t feel like you have the necessary amount of time to dedicate to this, share the link with your friends and family who do! You can sign up to tutor kids between 3rd and 8th grade, so high schoolers are eligible to volunteer too! And just as importantly, spread the word about this service to families that could benefit from a "remote learning pal."


Initiative: Health and Education for All (HAEFA)

Instagram: @studentsforhaefa

Website: https://haefa.org/donatetohaefa (Informational video: https://haefa.org/about-us)

About: HAEFA is a medical non-profit founded by Brown Professor, Dr. Abid. Traditionally, the organization was founded on the belief that healthcare is a human right, and works to make medical services accessible to marginalized, oppressed, and underserved populations. HAEFA primarily works with Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and with ready-made garment (RMG) factory workers in Bangladesh. 

Right now, Brown students Phoebe Kennan and Jenna Mullen have created a fundraiser to equip HAEFA’s medical team to urgently curb a COVID-19 outbreak in Rohingya refugee camps.  

From their website: “Overcrowding, insufficient sanitation and poor nutrition make refugees highly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and mortality – without intervention, the virus will decimate these populations.” 

Donations of $6 fund 50 pairs of gloves, $20 will buy 10 N95 masks, and $25 will purchase an entire PPE set! 

How you can help: Share posts on social media to spread the word, check out their Facebook page below, and consider donating at the above link– even the smallest donations can buy life-saving gloves and masks. You can venmo if you direct message Phoebe Kennan or the organization’s account! 


Initiative: Intern from Home

Email: [email protected]

Form to get involved: Intern From Home Google Form

About: Intern From Home is a free platform created by Brown University students to help both students and startups, where you can apply to virtual internships at early stage startups. From their form: “Companies need your help problem-solving in this difficult climate, and interning from home is the perfect way to fight off boredom and build your resume. From graphic designers to marketers, programmers to ops experts, you are needed right now.” 

How it works: Once you’ve filled out the form, the student organizers will send you emails about new positions that they think might be of interest to you based on your responses. From there, you can decide whether there are any options you might want to pursue! 

How you can help: If you have time, sign up to intern from home using the form and help early stage startups make it through these difficult times! If you don’t have enough time, share the link with friends who you think might be interested.