This is a content holder for the one button emergency notification system.

Safety by Design

Employee creating face masks for campus’ essential workers

Bridgewater State University President Frederick W. Clark Jr.’s recent rally cry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic – “We’ve got this!” – deeply resonated with Kellsy MacKilligan. In fact, his words inspired her to create more than 100 masks for essential employees working at the university.

“His words convey such a strong message and has helped me to push through, to have the energy and motivation to do this,” said MacKilligan, a costume designer who manages the costume shop for BSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

The president adopted the catch phrase “We’ve got this!” after watching the campus successfully adapt to the many changes brought on in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including moving fully to online learning.

While most of BSU faculty and staff are currently off campus and working remotely, there are still a number of employees who remain on-site keeping things running. State and federal officials are asking anyone working in public spaces to wear masks to help prevent the spreading of the coronavirus.

MacKilligan operates the BSU costume shop and had access to plenty of the hard-to-find materials and supplies necessary to create masks. With supplies in hand, MacKilligan got started behind her sewing machine at home.

She first created masks that displayed a Bear claw in honor of the school’s mascot, Bristaco. Many of her creations were distributed throughout the facilities management department with priority given to the custodial staff.

“It was very heartwarming for her to consider the safety of all our staff who have been out on the front lines since the pandemic started,” said Melinda Lamoureux, facilities management director. “She put her incredible skills and talent to great use. We are extremely grateful.”

Her next batch of masks were dyed blue and said “BSU PD.” They were donated to campus police.

MacKilligan is working on creating masks that carry the “We’ve got this!” message of hope.

“I’m trying to create masks that are meaningful for the people wearing them,” she said.

She has also created a tutorial on how to make masks that she created for students, but encourages anyone who is motivated, and has the materials and sewing experience to make their own masks to share.

“In the face of all the negative news, it’s nice to focus on how many people are helping. It helps to know that when you’re feeling hopeless,” MacKilligan said.

Do you have a BSU story you'd like to share? Email