Individual donors provide COVID-19 emergency fund support to 33 students to help them stay in school

Union’s student COVID-19 emergency fund was seeded by a $5,000 contribution from Union’s International Alumni Association Fund, with a goal to provide one-time grants of $300 to Union students to stave off unforeseen expenses caused by the pandemic. The hope was that these small grants would help offset some of the financial pressures caused by the worldwide pandemic. With Union continuing to offer online classes and serve students virtually, the funds were intended to encourage students to continue their education. Generous donors responded, including doctoral faculty member, Dr. Christopher Voparil providing his government-issued relief check to the fund. Enough funds were raised to provide small ($300) grants to 33 students. 

To date, $9,900 has been allocated. The students are grateful for the support. Some students had family members stricken with the disease. Others were furloughed from their jobs. Others had wives or husbands who lost their jobs. 

“The grant was a great help,” wrote one student. “Thank you for the assistance during this trying time.” 

Another student said, “Thank you so much for this! Its great news. This will help me fix my car situation.”

The International Alumni Association Board (IAAB) established the student COVID-19 emergency fund in April to help students during this challenging time. 

“The IAAB initiated the fund with $5,000 with the intent to help as many students as possible. Generous donors responded and kicked in another $5000. We are happy to report the fund has helped 33 students persist in their degree program and toward graduation,” said Dr. Randy Danielsen. Ph.D. 2003, IAAB president. “With all that is occurring, the IAAB saw the need. As former students themselves, they know the challenges of returning to school as non-traditional students, working full time, raising children, supporting aging parents. This is a small way to send a helping hand and recognize the road is never easy, but particularly difficult during these very uncertain times. All of us connected to the IAAB are deeply grateful to the donors who made contributions to assist students and let them know they matter.” 

Dr. Jay Keehn, UI&U Executive Director, Student Support Services, has overseen the allocation of the grant and knows the funds have been put to good use. “The emergency grant has been a way of connecting with our students and ensuring they are getting the additional support they need.” 

Want to help our students during this time? Consider supporting Union students today with a donation to the emergency fund at this link. If you have questions or comments, email