Solutions are a key component of land-grant institutions’ identity, and that’s why Auburn quickly shifted focus when the COVID-19 pandemic began its rapid spread across the United States. We never changed or turned away from our mission of instruction, research and outreach, but as Winston Churchill said, “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”
And what was required was activating our network of knowledge and discovery and leveraging it to reach people well beyond the confines of campus. Auburn expertise jumped to the task at hand, providing solutions and thoughtful analysis to help us navigate the tremendous and unforeseen path ahead of us. Here are four areas in which Auburn scientists and researchers are playing a key role:
Health and medical solutions
The pandemic has proved true the old adage, necessity is the mother of all invention. When it could not be found on store shelves, Auburn pharmacists quickly began compounding hand sanitizer to share with the community. Auburn engineers responded to our state’s need for ventilators by swiftly and inexpensively repurposing CPAP machines into one of the most essential tools for treating critical COVID-19 patients. At a time when testing is crucial, Auburn faculty are developing a biosensor that will rapidly detect the virus, allowing for quick and convenient diagnosis.
Not only is the coronavirus a public health crisis of major proportions, but it is also wreaking havoc on our economy. To help mitigate any lasting economic effects, Auburn experts are examining global supply chains, helping entrepreneurs develop strategies to survive shutdowns and offering advice to job seekers and soon-to-be graduates.
We are all following a new set of rules because of COVID-19, and they have significantly impacted our lives at home. Auburn faculty are offering tips on maintaining healthy relationships during quarantine and explaining the science behind social distancing. They’ve also provided thoughtful analysis on the impact the pandemic stands to have on upcoming elections.
Education and learning techniques
Suddenly, the country is filled with a lot more teachers. Fortunately, Auburn faculty have combined their expertise to share ways to engage remote learners, reduce stress while away from school and develop healthy habits to last long after the pandemic.
University research and academic analysis are undoubtedly essential to preventing, treating and curing coronavirus and mitigating its aftermath. At times of crisis, I’m especially grateful for institutions like Auburn, ones that were created to take on challenges like the ones we’re facing today. I encourage you to learn more about our efforts on the Auburn Experts website.
Jay Gogue is the president of Auburn University