When supplies of Purell ran low, chemical stores manager Yvonne Noonan took initiative to whip up gallons of substitute product
By Dave Block
Working at Lafayette over the past 35 years has given Yvonne Noonan a deep sense of connection to the College, especially its employees.
“I know many personnel,” says Noonan, hazardous materials technician and chemical stores manager for the Chemistry Department. “I care about them and all Lafayette personnel very much.”
Since high demand has made Purell hand sanitizer unavailable for purchase, Noonan became concerned that the College’s supply was running low. She reached out to Melissa Starace, assistant to the president for board and community relations, with an offer to make a substitute.
“I did research on Purell to discover what active ingredient is used to prepare it,” says Noonan. “The active ingredient is ethanol.”
A Pennsylvania liquor license is required to purchase pure ethanol, she explains, and that license is in her name. Noonan has to maintain strict records for the purchase and use of ethanol and submit them to the state.
Starace reached out to Scott Kennedy, director of facilities operations, and the Rev. Alex Hendrickson, College chaplain, who runs the Pard Pantry that supplies supplemental food and other necessities to students. Both eagerly accepted the offer of hand sanitizer.
Noonan picked up the ingredients and bottles and prepared eight gallons of the product, pouring them into 18 plastic squeeze bottles. She also made and attached labels with instructions for use. Cindy Pursel, environmental health and safety specialist with Public Safety, helped pour and label the bottles. Nineteen bottles went to Facilities Operations, two to Pard Pantry, and one each to Public Safety and LaFarm.
“With everything going on in our community, Yvonne’s thoughtfulness to make and provide hand sanitizer to staff working on campus is amazing,” says Kennedy. “Lafayette at its best!”
“This was a very kind thing for her to do so that the social distancing and health guidelines can be followed even more closely as we distribute items to students on campus,” says Hendrickson. “I am grateful to her and to all others who have gone out of their way to help our students. In this difficult time, I’ve seen signs of hope, goodness, and generosity. The hand sanitizer symbolizes all of those things. (As always, I am looking for Amazon gift cards for the Pard Pantry, which can be sent to my Lafayette email address.)”