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An International Volunteer’s Small Donation has a Big Impact During COVID-19 Pandemic

Yuxiang XieUT international student, Yuxiang Xie from China, donated 200 surgical masks and an infrared thermometer to the international house.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Xie closely watched what was happening on campus via Facebook groups and UT social media. Xie wanted to provide aid and assistance in any way he could. Because of the health precautions needed during this time, he decided to mail surgical masks to the Center for Global Engagement and his friends in the United States.

Although access to masks was difficult because companies were shut down, Xie drove to the pharmacy and bought 200 masks when the companies started to operate again. His contribution to the Center for Global Engagement reflects what it means to be a Vol for life.

You don’t have to be on campus to show Volunteer pride.

In the early morning on January 1, 2019, Xie arrived in the United States for the first time. Suffering from jet lag, cold temperatures, and the weight of dragging a huge suitcase from the airport to Clement Hall, Xie was welcomed by student staff on campus.Yuxiang Xie with friends at Neyland Stadium

“Before that, UT was just a strange name in my mind, but since then it has been growing slowly in my heart,” Xie said.

UT became his home away from home. Even back in China, Xie has a part of his heart in Tennessee.

“It feels amazing to be connected to the UT community, which is not a place or a building, but rather an idea, a thought deep in my mind,” Xie explains. “Big Orange, Big Idea.”

While we may have seemed far from connected to campus the past month, Xie is an example of the Volunteer community no matter how far from Rocky Top you may be.

“Being a volunteer means loving others as much as I love myself,” Xie said. “I believe that love is transmissible and will influence others, just as my friends and Rocky Top influenced me.”