College of Arts and Sciences Student Assistance Fund

Philomena Quainoo (L) and her mentor, Peggy Owusu (R).

Our brightest students reach for opportunities that may lie just beyond their grasp. The College of Arts and Sciences Student Assistance Fund closes the gap.

Philomena Quainoo’s parents are Ghanaian, so Philomena grew up in Ghanaian household. But that household was in Queens, New York. That’s why Philomena, who is now a senior-year social sciences major in the College of Arts and Sciences, jumped at the chance to join a SUNY study abroad trip to Ghana. To learn about the social systems in a country she’d heard tales from all her life but never visited—what a perfect opportunity.

The cost was hard. Philomena worked and saved and raised funds. But she came up short. Her parents and her mentor, UB-graduate and fellow Ghanaian-American Peggy Owusu, urged her to go ahead.

And she went. She and fellow student-travelers visited schools and social service agencies. Everything she heard, touched, smelled, saw connected her to the culture that had existed in her imagination but that she’d never known directly. The group went to Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti region, where she saw the unmovable sword of Okomfo Anokye, buried to its hilt in the ground, which will spell the end of the Ashanti Kingdom if it’s ever pulled out.

When Philomena returned to Buffalo, she expected to suspend her studies while she raised funds to pay the balance of her study abroad tuition. She couldn’t complete her senior year and graduate without doing so. That’s when the College of Arts and Sciences Student Assistance Fund stepped in and paid the bill.

That’s what the Student Assistance Fund exists to do: help students grasp what their ambition reaches for. By making small financial contributions to fill funding gaps that lie between students and their timely graduation, the fund makes their four-year-long dreams come true.