Release Date: December 9, 2002
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo undergraduate Student Association (SA) has pledged $25,000 over five years to an endowment fund designed to help undergraduate students who are experiencing financial difficulties stay in school. SA leaders announced the pledge in a ceremony held today in the Student Union on the North (Amherst) Campus.
UB's Annual Programs Office established the Random Acts of Kindness Fund -- believed to be one of the only emergency-relief programs in the country funded primarily by student donations -- to provide short-term assistance to students who face sudden changes that could prevent them from finishing school.
Whether the cause is a death in the family, illness or economic hardship, the Random Acts of Kindness Fund would offer one-time cash gifts to these students to help them with rent, transportation and other expenses so that they can continue their education.
"We're very pleased to contribute to the Random Acts of Kindness Fund, to be part of an endowment fund that will help future generations of students," said SA President Christian Oliver. "In addition, I hope that our participation will foster future support and guarantee the program's success."
Jennifer A. McDonough, vice president for university advancement, commended the student association for its foresight.
"We often look to alumni for student support, but in this situation," McDonough said, "it's the students who are helping each other, leading the way and creating a philanthropic legacy."
The idea for the fund began several years ago when UB alumna Naniette Coleman '02 met a student who had encountered a financial emergency, left UB and never returned. Coleman, a former SA president, felt that if there had been an emergency fund available, her friend might have been able to complete his education. Coleman later chaired the Senior Challenge Program in the Office of University Advancement's Annual Programs and the senior classes of 1999 and 2000 designated their gifts to be used in support of fellow students. The idea behind the fund was further reinforced when Coleman's mother died, forcing her to leave school for a semester.
Any undergraduate student attending UB may apply for awards from the Random Acts of Kindness Fund. Awards will be given on an as-needed basis with no predetermined amount. The first awards will be available next semester.
Applications will be accepted year-round through the SA and Student Processing Services. A selection committee made up of the assistant director of Student Processing Services, the associate vice president for campus life, an SA staff member and student representative will review the applications, along with the director of Student Processing Services. Applicants may be interviewed or asked for more information and documentation during the application process. Students whose applications are approved will receive a check within 48 hours after being informed of the committee's decision.
The UB Office of University Advancement will seek additional support for the fund from on- and off-campus organizations, and some of the money raised by future Senior Challenges also will be designated to the fund.
"It will be comforting to know that when students are faced with financial emergencies, the Random Acts of Kindness Fund will be there to help," said Judy Mackey, special programs coordinator in the Office of Annual Programs.
For information on how you can support the University at Buffalo, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/giving.