When Acadia's faculty, staff, alumni, and friends say that the University's students are a top priority, they don't fool around. They put their money where their mouth is. Quickly, and without hesitation.
Take, for instance, Acadia's recently announced COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. It was set up in recognition of the financial difficulties facing Acadia students and their families as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Fund will provide bursary support in variable amounts to second, third and fourth-year students facing ongoing and/or summer employment disruption or other financial difficulties. Relief will be granted based on the number of applications received and funds available for distribution.
Launched on April 9, 2020, by University President Dr. Peter Ricketts, support for Acadia students came in almost immediately. The first gift arrived less than five minutes after an e-mail appeal was sent to Acadia's faculty and staff. Seven gifts accrued within the first 15 minutes, and right now, the Fund stands at a little over $20,000, with nearly half of that coming from faculty and staff.
"The response has been heart-warming," Ricketts says, "and represents in a very tangible and direct way the Acadia community's commitment to the financial health and welfare of our students. I would personally like to thank all those who have donated to this point, and I encourage others to do so to ensure that our students can continue to enjoy the transformative educational experience we offer here at Acadia. We are stronger together, and Acadia will continue to flourish if we value the importance of compassion and human relationships as exemplified by this important initiative."
Members of Acadia's on-campus family and alumni around the world have recognized the need and stepped up. Mathematics professor Dr. Richard Karsten didn't hesitate to get involved, saying, "After receiving the President's message, one of my first responses was, 'How do I donate?'"
It's a sentiment shared far and wide, including among many members of the University's alumni community, and particularly incoming Acadia Alumni Association President Donalda MacBeath ('75) in Calgary.
"Coming from a family of five, it was a challenge for my siblings and me to attend University. With summer jobs, student loans, bursary and scholarship support from Acadia, and part-time work during the school year, I graduated with a BAH in 1975. I remember the constant worry about having the finances to finish the term, the year, my degree. And that was without the unprecedented pandemic, which has upended our world as we know it and put our economy on life support.
"I can only imagine the mental and physical impact this situation is having on current and future students trying to plan a course forward in these challenging times. I can't begin to fathom how parents are dealing with the angst, frustration and strain the pandemic has brought, so when I saw that Acadia had established a COVID-19 Student Relief Fund, there was absolutely no question that I would contribute. These are challenging times, and I truly believe that every bit helps."
She also says, "as an alumni community, we have supported Acadia, its students and staff in times of need. The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for the University and its students that were incomprehensible four months ago. In these challenging times, I encourage our alumni community, if possible, to make a donation to the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. A little help can go a long way."
Applications for COVID-19 Relief bursaries will be accepted up to June 15, 2020. To donate to the Fund, please visit giving.acadiau.ca/COVID