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Emergency relief

Funding for students in need

By Heidi Wicks

As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to ripple across the globe, students at Memorial are experiencing many of the same emergencies as other global citizens.

Student parents are unable to support their families due to job loss. Individuals are dealing with extenuating medical conditions. Housing and/or food insecurities are prevalent.

In response, funds are in place to support the spectrum of stressful situations. The Undergraduate Student Emergency Fund and the SGS Graduate Student Emergency Fund are available to both undergraduate and graduate students on any of Memorial’s campuses.

Dr. Vianne Timmons, Memorial’s new president and vice-chancellor, recently acknowledged in a video message that Memorial is doing everything in its power to put the needs of the students above all else.

“The people of this province are known for banding together as a community, and that is exactly what the Memorial family has done during this recent crisis,” Dr. Timmons said. “As you very well may anticipate, many of our students are experiencing hardships. In addition to adjusting to the cancellation of all in-person classes, an unexpected shift away from on-campus learning, being directed to quickly vacate university residences, many of our students have also lost badly needed income from on-campus employment. Some are unable to return home, and many are without the necessary equipment to complete their coursework remotely.

“These students are in sudden need of emergency funding,” continued Dr. Timmons, encouraging people to contribute as they are able, adding that she herself has contributed to the funds.

Hear more from Dr. Timmons’ in the video below.

‘Little margin for error’

Dr. Aimée Surprenant, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, doesn’t want students to have to worry about their future.

Dr. Aimee Surprenant
Dr. Aimée Surprenant
Photo: Chris Hammond

“The constantly moving situation created by the current crisis leaves graduate students apprehensive about how they will complete their research and programs as well as being deeply concerned about their futures,” said Dr. Surprenant. “Many students have carefully budgeted for their education, leaving little margin for error along the way. The hope is that these funds can, in some small way, help students at a critical time and help to ease the immediate financial worries arising from events outside of their control.”

Over $40,000 raised

Since the fund has been established, many faculty, staff and alumni of Memorial have enthusiastically made contributions.

Dr. Donna Hardy Cox, associate vice-president (academic), says it’s heartening to see the positive response from across the university community.

Dr. Donna Hardy Cox
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“These two funds will help Memorial students find themselves in extremely vulnerable situations because of COVID-19 – those who are currently struggling to pay rent, to buy groceries, to meet basic, critical needs,” said Dr. Hardy Cox. “We recognized a need early on and the undergraduate and graduate student support teams came together to make this happen, working with the Office of Development. It is heartening and not at all surprising to see the positive response from across the Memorial community and beyond.”

UPDATE: Funds now total $157,000.

Undergraduate students wishing to apply for funding should email studentsupport@mun.ca. Graduate students should contact sgs@mun.ca.

For those who wish to contribute, visit here and select either Undergraduate Student Emergency Funding or SGS Student Emergency Fund from the drop-down menu.

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