China Responds

A social media mention of local coronavirus needs prompted Chinese alumni of Executive Education training programs to send more than 30,000 medical masks.

Xufeng and Stephen Han
Xufeng and Stephen Han ready their donations in Shanghai.

Xufeng Han was only at Maxwell for a week-long training program, in 2017, as an MPA student from the Shanghai Administrative Institute. He liked it well enough, though, that he brought his family to Syracuse in 2019, as part of a U.S. vacation, which impressed his eight-year-old son, Stephen.

“The campus of Syracuse University is very beautiful,” Stephen wrote. “There are a lot of goods to buy in Destiny, the scenery of Green Lake State Park is really beautiful, and my favorite hot dog Heid’s locate[d] in Liverpool is very delicious. I really want to grow up and come back to the beautiful Syracuse again.”

The child’s sentiments arrived in a letter that he had attached to cartons of medical masks, which the Hans were donating to assisted-living centers and home-care services in Syracuse and Central New York. They were sending the donation in response to a social media post by Maxwell’s Executive Education program.

And they weren’t alone. This spring, Chinese citizens who (like Xufeng) had taken training programs through Ex-ecutive Education sent masks intended for seven senior-care, health-care, and similar institutions in the area. Over a week or so, 100-plus donors pledged more than 30,000 masks.

It all started when Maxwell’s China program director, Xueyi Chen, learned about the need from her neighbor, a physician. Remembering that visiting Executive Education students often tour care centers, she posted about the shortfall on WeChat. Packages began to arrive — more than half directly to Chen’s house! Staff rallied to help re-ceive and redistribute them.

The most touching gift, though, was Stephen’s. “I learned from the TV news that the virus is spreading very fast in New York State and I am very sad,” he wrote. “I wish you all the best, and hope that all friends in Syracuse can safely go through this difficult time.” On the outside of the boxes, in orange letters: “Good Luck Syracuse.”

“This amazing response to the coronavirus emergency,” said Chen in April, “confirms Maxwell’s belief in global community.”

By Dana Cooke