Hossein Haj-Hariri | March 30, 2020
Two weeks ago, as cases of the coronavirus exponentially increased across the country and instruction at our university was moved online for the duration of the semester, I had one message for our students: our college will get through this together.
In the weeks since, this has become truer than I ever could have imagined. The students, faculty, staff and alumni in our college have risen to the challenge that this virus has presented us with.
Graduate students and faculty took the initiative to ensure health care providers have necessary safety gear. In the last seven days, they have created a prototype for face shields and have begun 3D-printing their design.
Four of our faculty members heard the cries of help coming from New York City and offered their expertise to help in any way they could. Through a partnership with Prisma Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, our faculty provided the guidance needed to 3D-print a ventilator expansion device. Already, these devices are undergoing testing for emergency-use authorization. Hopefully in the next week, they will be in New York City in the hands of those in need.
As our university took the unprecedented step of moving all classes online, our faculty and staff worked tirelessly to make this possible. As of last Monday, I am proud to say that we had 100 percent of our courses successfully operating online. This includes our physical laboratories, which are operating successfully due to the outside-the-box thinking of some of our faculty members.
Our alumni, too, are stepping up – leading the charge to combat this virus across our country.
I’ve always told our students that they are the key to solving the world’s greatest problems. That as engineers, they are going to be looked upon by their peers, their family members, and their neighbors to help solve problems that seem to grow more complicated and more pressing by the minute, such as climate change, increasing water pollution and our country’s aging physical and digital infrastructure.
This past week showed me the truth in those words. It validated our college’s critical role in maintaining the well-being of the world around us. And, I can confidently say more so now than ever, that the individuals who make up our college – faculty, staff, alumni and students – are united in solving whatever challenge this world may have for us.
Two weeks ago, I asked our community to wash their hands. This week, I only have two words.
Forever to Thee,
Dean of the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing