As giving day approaches, CHHS looks to highlight the fund
BY ALEXA TIRONI, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR
Mason’s Day of Giving is an entire 24 hours dedicated to donating gifts of any size to the university and its students. This year, the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) will be focusing their donations to one group in particular — the over 450 Mason students whose basic needs of food and secure housing went unmet last year.
Assistant Director of Development of CHHS Shannon Donohue described the financial aid Student Emergency Fund as “a resource for students enrolled in the College of Health and Human Services, especially those with acute needs such as food or housing insecurity … and can be used to help students in need, especially during this pandemic.”
To apply for the scholarship students must provide the department they are enrolled in, their GPA, the amount of aid they are requesting, and an essay explaining why the student should receive the money and what the money would pay for.
Donohue asked that students applying “be as specific as possible about the amount of financial need and the reason for the request.”
University Life has a similar scholarship that any Mason student can apply for called the Student Emergency Assistance Fund. This scholarship helps students pay for rent, utility bills and childcare.
One anonymous student featured on the University Life website described the impact of the scholarship saying, “After having my normal 40-hour work week cut down to 16 hours due to the COVID-19 outbreak, my life changed before my eyes in seconds. When I had heard that Mason was offering emergency funding, I truly could not believe it, I filled out my application as fast as I could. … Within a couple of days, it was decided that I had been approved for emergency funding.”
Another featured student wrote, “My professor suggested I apply for emergency funding through University Life. The funding came through and I felt like I could breathe again. The funding has allowed me to shift my focus from ‘how I am going to pay for rent, food, and bills?’ back to my studies. I am eternally grateful for the support I have received from my Mason family.”
The University Life website mentions how COVID-19 and the ramifications of the infection has turned the lives of thousands of students upside down, stating, “At this moment, many students lack the financial cushion needed to travel, to find alternative housing arrangements, or even to be sure where their next meal is coming from.”
The site continues, “Many vulnerable students are wondering if they can even complete the semester.”
University life urges people to donate to students who qualify for this scholarship, saying, “Your gift to this fund will provide immediate financial assistance and other resources to students facing an unexpected financial crisis that could derail their progress towards a degree. Every donation will help a student in need — empowering them to succeed.”