When the College of Charleston announced March 19 that students would not be returning to campus during the COVID-19 pandemic, many members of the CofC community reached out to ask how they could help. This health crisis presented a challenge unlike anything the College has faced in modern times. Yet the CofC family came together as one to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable students.
More than 500 alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends answered the call and generously contributed just over $156,000 to the Student Emergency Fund. This critical fund provides support to students facing hardships in areas such as rent, food, textbooks and school supplies, medicine and medical bills, technology needed for distance learning, and other immediate needs. To date, more than 900 students have received funds to help ease the burden of their financial hardships.
“A week before major shutdowns, I started a new job that required me to travel. Before this, I worked hourly at a restaurant downtown. Since the outbreak, I can no longer get this self-contracted work and cannot return to the restaurant, as they have been forced to close,” said one student who applied for funding. “I do not have any familial financial aid to turn to and I’ve paused my student loan and medical bill payments to lessen the burden, but it still does not amount to the cost of my rent.”
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Many departments on campus such as Jewish Studies, School of the Arts, University Marketing and Enrollment Planning, Career Center, Chemistry, and the Provost generously re–designated some of their Foundation funds to help our students. One Hispanic Studies professor, Carl Wise, gave an incredible gift of $30,000 that was able to help more than 100 students alone.
“I received my check from the College of Charleston Foundation and want to reach out and say thank you so much for the $100. It goes a long way, although it may not seem like a lot,” said one student recipient. “I have put the money toward groceries for my family. Since I lost my job, it has been very difficult to keep up with certain payments. Thank you again for this gift. Stay safe in these uncertain times.”
Thank you to our alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends who contributed to the Student Emergency Fund. Because of you, we can support the College’s commitment to serve every member of our CofC family and ensure we get through these times together.
To learn more about the impact of the Student Emergency Fund, click here.