In March of 2020, events were postponed, gatherings were limited and buildings were closed to protect the community, including our university campus. Amongst the changes were in-person classes transitioning to online learning, leaving USask hallways and classrooms quiet.
While USask students adjusted quickly to the changes, they also experienced challenges along the way. Many of them lost their internships or part-time employment, experienced isolation, and had to move back home.
As a result, the need for student emergency financial assistance increased. Some students have struggled to pay for groceries and make ends meet. Some need extra help with personal academic tools for online learning, from textbooks and laptops to internet connections. In addition, support for wellness and mental health have also been critical to students more than ever.
“When COVID-19 hit the province, I was let go from my part-time job and felt short on my finances. I also couldn’t access essential resources, such as food banks, since they were closed for safety measures. At that point, it felt like I lost everything,” said one USask international student, who has received crisis funding during the pandemic and wanted to share their story anonymously.
With no other options to consider, the student reached out to USask’s central student support team and received financial assistance through the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust. Thanks to the generosity of 996 donors, including many university staff who reallocated their professional development funds to assist students in need, and a $100,000 contribution from Professor Emeritus Dr. Kay (PhD) Nasser and Mrs. Dora Nasser, there was funding available to help this student immediately through this crisis.
“The help I received made it possible for me to get groceries and pay for my tuition to continue studying here. Without it, I would have had to abandon everything I’ve worked hard for with my studies and go back home,” the student said.
The student is beyond thankful to all donors and those in the campus community who have stepped forward to help hundreds of students in these difficult times. Flexible emergency funding available to USask students makes a real difference and helps them both with their studies and personal well-being.
“I am thankful for donors and for who they are because they give students a light during dark times. The fund has saved my life and allowed me to pursue my academic goals.”
If you would like to make a gift to the Nasser Family Emergency Student Trust, and support students in crisis, visit donate.usask.ca/crisis.