Duck alumni and friends are answering the urgent call to help University of Oregon students cope with unusual financial needs due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
UO President Michael H. Schill announced $1 million in donated funds has been added to the Students in Crisis Fund, which will be available immediately as the university launches a new crowdfunding campaign to bolster the cause. Schill announced the aid Monday during his virtual town hall.
“Each and every student is part of the University of Oregon family, and we know that these unprecedented times are creating hardships that many families never could have anticipated,” Schill said. “I am inspired by the willingness of our entire university community to pull together like never before to support our students.”
The number of students requesting help during March alone was 12 times greater than usual, according to Kris Winter, associate vice president and dean of students.
“Normally we receive five or six requests per month to assist students who have encountered an unforeseen financial difficulty,” Winter said. “This March, however, we received more than 75 requests. Due to impacts from COVID-19, these students need help with unexpected medical bills, rent payments in the wake of lost jobs or help paying for groceries.”
Schill and Winter emphasized that students who apply to the crisis fund have no other resources to deal with unexpected obstacles that could sidetrack or disrupt their education at the UO.
“We know the need will escalate in coming weeks,” Winter said. “I am so thankful to generous Ducks around the world for stepping up so our students can focus on their education rather than where their next meal is coming from.”
The fund was seeded two years ago with gifts from members of the Parents Leadership Council. Schill expressed gratitude for gifts of all sizes, noting that the university’s Duckfunder drive, which raised $50,000 for the Students in Crisis Fund in less than 48 hours when it launched last week, will continue through mid-May.
“We know that many people are struggling with challenges created by the coronavirus, and we thank you for all you are doing to support the UO,” he said.
To donate to the fund, go to the UO’s Duckfunder crowdfunding website.
Students can learn more about accessing crisis funds by visiting the Office of the Dean of Students website. Students may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-346-3216 during business hours to learn more.
The impact of COVID-19 is evolving, and the UO’s coronavirus website is the best source of current information.
—By Melody Ward Leslie, University Communications