Rollins’ Fulfillment Services Team Responds to COVID-19

July 15, 2021
Fulfillment Team 2021

By Karina Antenucci

Like most in the Rollins community, over the last year, the Fulfillment Services department at Rollins had to pivot in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But unlike many, this small group of nine frontline workers have been on campus since the pandemic struck, tending to the important behind-the-scene tasks that needed to get done for the safety and organization of the school and the university at-large.

“Our motto is we service all,” says Vanda Palmer Hudson, director of Fulfillment Services, and a 19-year Rollins veteran. “We make sure everybody—faculty, staff, and students—has what they need to work and complete their missions.” 


In a “normal” year, the one-stop-shop support system handles the day-to-day operational needs for two buildings on campus and several offsite locations. A diverse team with varied and unique skillsets provides services including mail delivery, key distribution, stocking office supplies, building upkeep, major and minor office renovations, and room reservations. It also offers photography for professional and passport photos, among other things.

Since the pandemic began, Fulfillment Services has proactively met the university’s needs for a safe and efficient campus.  After undergraduate students moved out of campus last spring due to the abrupt necessity posed by the pandemic, members of the team volunteered to help clear out the dorms and ship belongings to students. In preparation for in-person classes last fall at Rollins, Fulfillment Services set up classrooms, event spaces (which were used as classrooms), and common areas with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. To appropriately social distance furniture, they had to move a massive number of items offsite to a 5,000-square-foot storage unit. Additionally, members of Fulfillment Services thoughtfully put together “care kits” for Rollins faculty including wipes, pens, dryer board erasers, and hand sanitizer. Once classes were in session, they continued to reset spaces throughout the day. 

“We’ve been busy. Nobody knew what was going to happen last year. Whatever we needed to do, we did,” says Hudson, who admits that working through the fear of COVID-19 was the team’s greatest challenge and triumph.

Theo Gayle, Fulfillment Services Rep 2, adds, “There was an element of ‘how do we get into a rhythm in the midst of uncertainties due to the pandemic?’ There was lots of dialogue across our team that is made up of different backgrounds, age groups, and cultures. In order to fulfill Rollins’ obligations and the University’s COVID assignments, we all had to be on the same page.”

During this time, Fulfillment Services also assisted with logistics related to the construction of Rollins’ third building, the R. Randall Rollins Building. This entailed clearing out classrooms and common spaces as well as covering furniture so that the construction process could continue as scheduled.

Another key and ongoing undertaking for Fulfillment Services is managing several aspects of COVID-19 testing sites on campus, which recently have also become vaccination sites. This has included supporting both on-campus testing for the Emory community and off-campus testing for the Department of Epidemiology’s research initiatives by setting up and breaking down sites, transporting test kits to labs, and replenishing supplies. This was no small feat, particularly during the back-to-school onboarding process, where all Emory students, faculty, and staff were required to be tested prior to returning to campus.

Despite their very full plates and the challenging year, the Fulfillment Services team continues to serve with positive attitudes. “Moving forward, I am excited about demonstrating our growth and resilience in future opportunities and challenges,” Gayle says.

Next up: Cracking open that mega storage unit and returning everything to its place for the fall 2021 semester. Thank you, vaccinations. And thank you, Fulfillment Services. 

Read about Vanda Hudson's receipt of Emory University's Award of Distinction


Vanda Hudson


Edgar Woods


Jerry Reid


Ralph Valenzuela


Maurice Haines


Jimmie Benton


Donald Harris


Theo Gayle


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