During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have resorted to haircuts at home. Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Katharine Stewart did just that after a team effort that raised more than $93,000 for NC State’s Student Emergency Fund.
Stewart pledged to shave her head if the university’s associate deans for academic affairs and others raised more than $25,000 for the fund by May 15. ADAA’s committed to raising funds in their own colleges, with the Poole College of Management raising the most of any college at more than $16,000.
The idea for supporting the Student Emergency Fund came from a casual conversation between Stewart and the ADAA’s before a regular morning meeting.
“We got to talking about what we would be willing to do if we could raise a large amount for the Student Emergency Fund. I‘d read an article about someone’s shaving their head to raise money and I very cavalierly said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’d do that.’” said Stewart. “We were all unanimous in our desire to raise funds specifically for NC State students because we all know how challenging undergraduate or graduate education can be, even in the best of times, and when you’re really stressed about money, that makes it so much more difficult.”
Stewart and the ADAA’s wanted NC State students to feel supported by their university, remembering their own financial difficulties during college. The Student Emergency Fund was established by the Division of Academic and Student Affairs to ensure that students have access to the support and resources they need to successfully recover from unexpected financial crises. At any time, but especially during a global pandemic, financial issues can hamper a student’s progress toward a degree.
“We wanted to choose a goal that we thought would be a “stretch” but achievable,” said Stewart. “We really hoped we’d surpass the goal, but NONE of us had any idea we’d raise so much! It just goes to show you how a little competition in the name of college pride can really make some amazing things happen.”
At this time, more than $1.2 million has been donated to the Student Emergency Fund, and the fund is distributing $25,000 per day in small grants. Students who lost their spring or summer jobs as a result of the pandemic have been able to meet basic needs such as food, shelter and medicine as a result of those small grants. The Student Emergency Fund committee reviews each request and tries to make sure that students with urgent needs are getting support.
Faculty, staff, students and alumni can continue to support students in need through contributions to both the Student Emergency Fund and the Feed the Pack Food Pantry. Each contribution, no matter the size, goes a long way in helping during difficult times.
“I think most people are feeling very stressed by the impact of the pandemic and national events,” said Stewart. “Coming together in even the small ways of offering a bit of help in finding campus resources and a bit of kindness can be an important reminder that even when we are physically separated, we are always part of a powerful Wolfpack community.”