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USD Collects Hundreds of Face Masks for Community Members

diy t-shirt mask materials, including a USD cotton t-shirt and scissors. USD's 100% cotton t-shirts are available at the MUC and the Vermillion Public Library. (Photo by Warren Tolley)

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota has asked the campus community for assistance in creating face masks for members of the Coyote and Vermillion community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

To aid the effort, USD has a large quantity of free, new, 100% cotton t-shirts that can be picked up at the Muenster University Center information desk to be used to make DIY t-shirt masks. Once completed, masks can be dropped off at the information desk.

Sara Lampert, Ph.D., an associate professor of history and coordinator of the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies program, said they have collected over 400 masks so far. Donated masks have been distributed to students living in university housing and all essential staff that have remained on campus. 

Wendy Tolley sits at a sewing desk working on a DIY t-shirt mask.
Photo by Warren TolleyWendy Tolley, a Vermillion community member and certified master knitter who has taught knitting, crocheting, tatting and quilting at college and private classes, has made over 120 t-shirt masks in three different sizes. Tolley has made them all from USD's t-shirts.

The outpouring of donations prompted Lampert to involve the Vermillion community more.

“At this time, we are shifting to a community-focused effort in collaboration with the United Way of Vermillion and the Vermillion Public Library,” said Lampert. “Our goal is to get masks to local social services and other needs as they arise.”

Lampert said there is now a second site where t-shirts can be picked up and masks can be donated at the Vermillion Public Library.

“We are very grateful for the exceptional skill and contributions of our community,” said Lampert. “Thank you for keeping our campus community and Vermillion safe.”

Learn more about how to create a DIY t-shirt masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as in grocery stores or walking the hallways of campus and residence halls. Wearing a face mask helps those who may have COVID-19, but are not showing symptoms, from transmitting it to others.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News