As students and faculty return to campus this fall, one of the most important things we can do to keep everyone safe is to wear a cloth mask or other face covering. One study estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic would grind to halt if 80 percent of people simply wore one. 

This change in campus couture culture has started from the top. UNI President Mark A. Nook has been wearing a face covering on and off campus for weeks. His goal is helping usher in the day when our lives can return to normal. 

“If the Panther community comes together, we can literally save lives just by wearing masks,” Nook said. “My hope is that each of us will do our part in protecting our campus community and ourselves by wearing face coverings both on and off campus. We know it’s not convenient, but this small step will have a great impact in keeping our community safe and help us get back to normal.”

Nook said he wears his mask to protect students and colleagues.  "I know that a person can be contagious and not have symptoms,” he said. “I recognize that this could be me, and I would inadvertently pass the virus to someone who would need to be hospitalized or even die.  So I wear the mask to protect others." 

Starting this week, UNI is launching a #ProtectingOurPanthers campaign to continue this conversation on social media. Please share your stories about why you’re masking up along with selfies, video, or TikToks of yourself in a mask. The more creative, the better! 

We’ll share the best on UNI’s main social media channels and here in the pages of InsideUNI.