UC Davis students raise funds to meet emergency needs
February 24, 2012
By Julia Ann Easley
UC Davis students are coupling Aggie Pride with compassion to help meet the needs of fellow students.
Through a new effort called We Are Aggie Pride, a volunteer board of seven students aims to create a fund to provide financial support to students with emergency needs. Students, faculty and staff all are being asked to contribute.
The campaign plans to raise $25,000 by the end of June. It already has almost $5,000 in contributions including lead donations from the Associated Students of UC Davis and the board of directors of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, the Student Alumni Association and Picnic Day.
Rajiv Narayan and Christine Kim are seniors and members of the board of directors for We Are Aggie Pride. They said students face rising tuition and other school expenses at a time when it is difficult for them and their parents to keep or find jobs. And many have depleted any savings.
Narayan and Kim know from experience. "That's part of what drove us to get involved," said Kim, a fourth-year student majoring in political science.
Kim's family has had major medial expenses since her mother had a stroke a decade ago; the family now faces foreclosure on their Roseville home.
Narayan, of Union City, holds three part-time jobs and maintained a heavy course load so he could shave one quarter off his studies and earn a degree in economics by the end of March. At one time, his parents were both out of work — with two sons in college.
The campaign is planning to build awareness and encourage donations in its launch period with a variety of campus events through March 8 including a talent show, bake sale, craft activities and attendance at basketball games.
Donors, who can give online, will receive T-shirts that will provide wearers with discounts at some local merchants.
By April, organizers plan to begin accepting applications from undergraduates for emergency assistance. Applicants must have must have on file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or a Dream Act application. Kim said no cap has been set on award amounts.
Two of the student directors and a financial aid officer will review applications. A team of eight staff advisers works with the students on the project.
We Are Aggie Pride is the latest among students' efforts to provide help for classmates in need. The Associated Students of UC Davis opened a food pantry in January 2011 and last month opened Aggie ReStore, which sells previously owned clothing, arts and craft materials and school and office supplies.
Other short-term emergency assistance is also available to students in need. As part of a comprehensive financial aid program, UC Davis offers emergency loans of up to $500 and short-term loans for more than $500. Information about these loans is available online.
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