The University of Iowa

Love City Story

April 29th, 2020
57 parents of Chinese students and young alumni worked together on purchasing and donating 8,000 medical masks to UI Hospitals & Clinics

57 parents of Chinese students and young alumni worked together on purchasing and donating 8,000 medical masks to UI Hospitals & Clinics

“57 parents of Chinese students and young alumni worked together on purchasing and donating 8,000 medical masks to the UI Hospitals and Clinics. The masks were delivered to ’Love City’ yesterday,” Min Zou, mother of UI student Daniel Zhang, sent this message to a UI staff member via WeChat. ‘Love City’ is the Chinese nickname of Iowa City based on its pronunciation used by generations of Chinese-speaking students, alumni, families, and friends. 

Daniel and his parents had their first in-depth look at the UI and Iowa City in the spring of 2018, when attending a Next Step, Iowa event for admitted high school seniors and their families in China. “We learned from university leadership, Admissions, and faculty that people in Iowa City were very friendly, and the UI campus was a beautiful place with great academics and an amazing study atmosphere. We decided to commit to the UI without any hesitation,” says Min. 

“Iowa City is indeed ‘Love City’. No matter where we are from, no matter if we are facing a personal medical challenge or a global pandemic, we give and receive love in Iowa City.”

Daniel arrived at the UI campus in August of 2018. However, his life took a sharp turn a few weeks later when he was injured in a terrible car accident. He was immediately sent to UI Hospitals & Clinics. “It was so unfortunate, but Daniel was able to receive world-class medical treatment and care from the hospital personnel. Additionally, staff members from many departments at the university responded quickly and offered tremendous help to us.  We have been very grateful to the support from International Programs and other units on campus,” reflects Min. 

When Daniel’s parents learned the news about UI Hospitals & Clinics being in urgent need of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, they were worried about the safety of the front-line providers and decided to donate medical masks. They purchased 3,000 medical masks and shipped them to their friends in Iowa City, who delivered the masks to the hospital and other local organizations. 

Later, Min realized other parents were also interested in donating masks from China to Iowa City, but felt overwhelmed by the complicated cross-continental logistics process involved. Because of her previous mask donation experience, she took the initiative to organize the parents together, including: collecting monetary donations, purchasing 8,000 masks from a reliable manufacturer, identifying the most efficient and effective shipping supplier, and working with Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) on receiving the masks in Iowa City.  “None of the 57 parents are experts in this area, and we faced some obstacles during the process. We are so glad that the masks were received and dropped off to the hospital by CSSA members in a timely manner. Many parents also made generous donations to the UI Health Emergency Fund and the Student Life Emergency Fund,” says Min. 

“Iowa City is indeed ‘Love City’. No matter where we are from, no matter if we are facing a personal medical challenge or a global pandemic, we give and receive love in Iowa City,” says Min.

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