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For every Hampshire student who received a flu shot from health services on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11 and 12, a $5 contribution was given to Doctors Without Borders to support the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
Hampshire College officials combined free flu shots with an appeal to the strong social consciousness of students.
The funds were personal contributions from President Jonathan Lash, Dean of Students Byron McCrae, and health and counseling services director Sara Aierstuck, who came up with the idea.
Aierstuck was dealing with the practical concerns of setting up free flu shots, which are offered on scheduled days each year to Hampshire students as they head into the dining commons for lunch.
As she reflected on the deadly history of influenza and its control through immunization, Aierstuck couldn’t help thinking about the current battle with Ebola in West Africa and what could be done to help.
“The best way any of us here can fight Ebola is to support those who are fighting it in West Africa,” she thought. She proposed the idea of contributing to Doctors Without Borders to the dean of students and president, both of whom also wished to contribute.
As they protect the health of themselves and their peers by getting flu shots, Hampshire students are also contributing to the fight against Ebola in West Africa through the three administrators’ gifts.