The St. Cloud State University Costume Studio is usually busy this time of year putting together costumes for the last theatre performance of the year.
With social distancing and a worldwide pandemic, however, the studio is serving a different purpose this spring. Costume Studio Director Carol Cooley is putting the sewing machines to work making surgical-style masks from cotton scrap material from past productions to hand out to campus students, staff and community members.
She’s made masks for staff in Eastman Hall, Lindgren Childcare Center and staff members and student workers in Atwood Memorial Center and the Public Safety Department.
“I wanted to keep them safe,” she said.
Cooley has been making masks since March and has produced almost 100 masks. Now she is being joined by 20 volunteer mask makers who are making St. Cloud State branded masks for those who are remaining on campus this spring.
The Public Safety Department purchased three bolts of the fabric and put out a call for volunteers. The goal is to make 700 masks to hand out to the campus community, said Jenn Super, St. Cloud State director of emergency preparedness.
Cooley researched mask patterns, washed and cut the fabric and packaged it into kits for the volunteers. Once the masks are produced they will be handed out by the Huskies Food Pantry to help protect students, staff members and faculty who are coming to campus.
“The trend is going in the direction of cloth masks being one of the prevention tools that we use to keep our campus as safe as we can and to encourage our students and community that we’re doing everything we can,” Super said. “And why not do it with a little bit of spirit!”