LONGMEADOW — Commencement ceremonies all over the country may be canceled or postponed, but thanks to one Bay Path alumnus, college students can still put their graduation gowns to good use. Nathaniel “Than” Moore a 2014 graduate of Bay Path’s inaugural class in the MS in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program, has started Gowns4Good, and is collecting new and used commencement gowns that will be forwarded to medical facilities to use as personal protective equipment (PPE).
“Medical facilities worldwide are lacking PPE and are using anything they can to protect themselves, even makeshift trash-bag gowns and masks cut from bedsheets,” Moore said. “Graduation gowns are more effective than alternatives given their length, sleeves, and easy donning with zippered access. Efforts are being made to increase PPE production, but the demand is increasing too quickly.”
As a physician assistant at a level-1 trauma center, University of Vermont Medical Center, Moore is on the front lines of emergency-room healthcare and understands the needs these facilities are experiencing. He’s also finishing up an MBA program, and that combination of real-world ER experience and business-centric problem solving led him to repurpose graduation gowns.
Shortly after the idea crossed his mind, Moore reached out to fellow University of Vermont Sustainable Innovation MBA students who were able to assist with different aspects of the project, and Gowns4Good was up and running. Not even a week later, the program has collected hundreds of gowns, and has received requests for thousands of gowns from hospitals and medical facilities in need. The process on both ends is simple. Donors ship their new or previously worn gowns to a collective post office box, where Moore and his team collect them, inspect them, and then package them in larger quantities of 50 or more gowns to ship out to requesting healthcare providers and facilities.
Ready to answer Gown4Good’s call, students are shipping their unused gowns, alumni are dusting off the gowns hanging in their closet to donate, and parents are sending in the gowns of their children, as a way to honor them. For many, it’s a way to take action in a stressful time and to make a tangible difference. Their college education made a difference for them, and now, through a memento from that experience, they are able to make a difference for someone else.
For more information or to donate a gown, visit www.gowns4good.net.