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How to Help Emerson Families Struggling with COVID-Related Crisis

Giving Tuesday Now logo with photo of students hugging

There is virtually no one whose life hasn’t been upended in some way – large or small – by the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, it’s a canceled vacation or milestone, for others it’s a bout with the illness, a layoff, or even the loss of a loved one.

And for many current Emerson students, it’s meant sudden financial crisis and the possibility that they won’t be able to continue their studies in the fall.

On May 5, Emerson will participate in Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving from the organization behind Giving Tuesday, created as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.

To raise money for the Student & Family Crisis Relief Fund, Emerson will reach out to its extended family – faculty, staff, alumni, and parents – and ask them to do what Emersonians do naturally: Come together, even when we’re apart.

“The devastating economic impact of our collective effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic has already been keenly felt by current students,” said John Malcolm, Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

“Many Emerson families, faced with lost wages, savings, and jobs are struggling to envision how to afford the fall semester. The College’s financial aid resources – never robust – are simply insufficient to meet this spike in authentic need,” Malcolm said.

These students and their families need access to unrestricted financial aid dollars to be able to continue their time at Emerson.

It’s too early to know the precise impact of the virus on returning Emerson students and their families, said Ruthanne Madsen, Vice President of Enrollment Management. What we do know is that approximately three-quarters of Emerson students receive some type of financial assistance in any given year, and that number is certain to grow this fall thanks to the economic shock waves caused by the pandemic, she said.

“Working to ensure continued enrollment at Emerson is what we do on a regular basis. Never before has this required so much attention and compassion,” Madsen said. “Our students now face unprecedented changes in their lives, changes that through no fault of their own have negatively impacted their ability to continue as an Emerson student.”

On May 5, members of the Emerson community will be asked to consider a number of things.

We’ll be asked to recall a time when a fellow Emersonian helped us out – with creative input on a project, an extra meal swipe, an internship lead, or just a hug – and imagine “What if they hadn’t?”

We’ll be asked to envision the writers, thinkers, movie makers, and artists that will one day soon inspire us in ways we don’t even know yet – and what we stand to lose if some of them cannot continue to nurture their talents at Emerson.

Finally, we’ll be asked to give, to the extent we’re able, to the Student & Family Crisis Relief Fund.

Sharon Duffy, as Assistant Vice President of the Office of Student Success, knows the range of needs that students face, especially as pandemic throws their lives off balance.

“Every day, it is our privilege to work with extraordinary students and to help them thrive during their time at Emerson,” Duffy said. “While COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our day-to-day at Emerson and on our students and their families, what has remained unchanged is the Emersonian spirit and resolve. Your gift of any amount will help to keep the Emerson experience a reality for many of our students who are in the greatest need.”

This #GivingTuesdayNow, give to the Student & Family Crisis Relief Fund.

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