Auburn Alumni Association launches a buy one, give one face mask initiative

Published: September 24, 2020
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The Auburn Alumni Association has launched a face mask initiative through which Auburn alumni and friends can purchase exclusive, limited edition Auburn face masks for personal use while also donating a mask to an underserved area of Alabama.

In line with Auburn’s mission as a land grant institution and in partnership with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Auburn Alumni Association will donate a mask to the area of greatest need in the state of Alabama for every mask that is sold through its mask initiative. To learn more about the program or to order masks, visit

Each design is a limited edition. Once a design is sold out, no more will be produced and a new design will then be created. 

The Auburn Alumni Association partnered with the University of Minnesota Alumni Association to host the Auburn face mask products on their alumni marketplace, Minnesota Alumni Market. 

“We are so excited about the impact this exciting initiative will make on Alabamians and look forward to seeing these beautiful designs throughout our state,” said Gretchen VanValkenburg, vice president for alumni affairs and executive director of the Auburn Alumni Association. “I am especially grateful to my fellow CAAE member and alumni colleague, Lisa Lewis [president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association], for her assistance and support.”

Lisa Huber, senior director of marketing and partnerships for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, added that, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Auburn Alumni Association on the mask initiative within the Minnesota Alumni Market. Together, our alumni communities can make an important impact in the lives of many.”

Donated masks will be distributed to areas in Alabama with the most need as determined by Alabama Extension.

“It’s times like these that we find the greatest comfort in knowing that alumni communities, from two different conferences, can unite for a larger cause,” said Jessica King, director of communications and marketing for the Auburn Alumni Association. 

Extension Director Gary Lemme agreed.

“Alabama Extension has offices in each county and is Auburn University’s connection to every community in Alabama,” he said.  “Extension is proud to partner with the Auburn Alumni Association in distributing donated masks to underserved residents. The ‘buy one-donate one’ approach of Auburn alumni proudly wearing a mask from their alma mater and donating a second mask to someone with limited resources is truly the spirit of Auburn’s creed. Efforts like this are what makes the Auburn University family special and real.”

The below Auburn School of Nursing student ambassadors also offered their thoughts on the initiative and the importance of face coverings:

  • "Masks are so important because they help protect you and your community. COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets, so wearing a mask is a simple action you can take to help stop the spread and allow local schools, hospitals and businesses to keep functioning as normally as possible," said Emily Claire Herring, ’21.

  • “I think mask wearing is important because not only does it help to protect me, the wearer, it drastically reduces the number of people that would contract COVID in the U.S. When I wear my mask, I realize that I am doing my bit to keep society safer, thereby reducing the amount of money that is spent on health care. Wearing a mask also shows that, despite the discomfort I may feel, I am willing to be my neighbor’s keeper, especially the immunocompromised, by reducing the odds of them contracting the disease,” said Peace Elimimian, ’22.

  • “Mask wearing is important because it’s not just for my sake. As a nursing student, I have to consider my patients’ health before I even get to the clinical setting. Due to the current research, mask wearing will help. So, I will do my part,” said Caroline Richey, ’21.

  • “Mask wearing is important to protect yourself and others around you. If you choose to not wear a mask, you may put yourself at risk, but you may also put everyone else you come in contact with at risk. Be safe and wear a mask,” said Callie Clemmons, ’21.

  • “Wearing a mask is the easiest way for you to be a part of limiting the spread of COVID-19. Because the disease is spread through respiratory droplets, masks covering your nose and mouth are a necessity. It is good manners to protect others. You are saving lives by putting on a mask,” said Catherine Parma, ’23.

For more information on the mask initiative, contact Jessica King, director of alumni communications and marketing, at 334-844-2960 or

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.