Business majors get creative for project


Nick Frisina , Staff Writer

A group of Gannon University business students have created a customizable face mask business with the goal of raising money for the university’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

U Mask It is the name of the business created and led by Phillip Vargo, a senior business administration major, Rimah Aldhafeeri, Fernando Guzman, Javier Valeiras, Vladimir Diaz and  Skylar DeCarolis, students from Gannon’s Dahlkemper School of Business.

U Mask It was created for a senior business class as a senior project for the students.

The business, created amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allows Gannon community members to purchase protective facemasks and customize them any way they would like.

Vargo said the idea of U Mask It came about between him and the co-founders because of the constant need for protective facemasks.

“We thought that this idea was practical,” Vargo said. “And one that could benefit our peers within the Gannon community.”

The mask customization has brought in a lot of interest and sales for the pop-up business, drawing sales from a number of university clubs and organizations. Although they have catered to clubs and organizations, U Mask It has a variety of Gannon- related designs for sale as well.

Vargo shared the team’s the team’s motivation for making the masks customizable.

“My team and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to bring a sense of expression to wearing masks,” Vargo said. “Thus, allowing proper mask wearing to also encompass a sense of solidarity or individuality.”

In addition to selling to university clubs and organizations, Gannon has collaborated with U Mask It, to provide masks for the Fall 2020 Commencement ceremony.

“My team and I are appreciative of the university’s support of our business’s intentions and aspirations,” Vargo said.

With the proceeds going toward Gannon’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, U Mask It is helping the university provide personal protective equipment to the students.

“This fund helps provide items like hand sanitizers, thermometers and other related products to students,” Vargo said. “Which in turn allow them to better adhere to CDC and University guidelines.”

The masks will be manufactured at two different locations, Buffalo, N.Y., and Erie. The prices of the masks vary based on the customization. The masks can be ordered through the link on their Instagram page, @umaskit.


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