The Support Our Spartans Emergency Needs Fund is helping students struggling financially from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to donors and students themselves.
Established in 2010 by donors to provide students financial support to pay unexpected expenses that arise from emergency situations, the fund received a major boost in early April from two student government organizations. The Associated Students of Michigan State University and the MSU Residence Halls Association contributed $265,360.
“Supporting the fund was a meaningful way for us at ASMSU to impact the lives of students with their immediate needs. The uncertainty that students face adds a level of anxiety and concern on making ends meet. Our hope is to alleviate the added financial burdens that they are encountering,” said Mario Kakos, ASMSU president.
Students understood the issues facing their friends and classmates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who had to remain on campus or in the East Lansing community, often alone and without jobs when nonessential operations closed, notes Vice President and Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Services Denise Maybank, who administers the funds.
Once applications opened for students to request help from the fund, more than 7,400 applications were received, 3,000 of them within the first 24 hours. Eligible students receive a one-time grant up to a maximum of $500 and are not required to repay the award.
The Support Our Spartans Emergency Needs Fund is one of several ongoing funds receiving contributions from donors, faculty, staff and students. As of early June, more than 3,600 donors contributed more than $367,000 to the SOS fund as well as a number of college-level emergency assistance funds and community response funds.
“It is impressive and gratifying to see how Spartans are looking out for one another,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “Many in our community are experiencing financial difficulties and your support is providing a lifeline when they need it most.”