PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – “Sue,” a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, not only was taking a full load of engineering classes, but she was also working on campus to earn her spending money. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced students to leave campus in March to be safer at home, Sue’s personal finances also took a hit.
“I no longer have a job or a way to get food on a daily basis,” said Sue (not her real name). “I was eating three meals a day and working 10 hours a week. Now I am unemployed and living off one meal a day.”
Sue’s story is one of nearly 500 student submissions to Pioneers Helping Pioneers, an emergency funding program through the UW-Platteville Foundation. To even better serve the student population, the university has set a $100,000 donation goal to support Pioneers Helping Pioneers.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard, it has been especially difficult for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville student body,” said Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. “We unfortunately have heard story after story of students who are at home and no longer able to work because of the shutdowns. They are having difficulty paying bills, including internet bills that they need to continue taking courses in alternative delivery methods. I am personally appealing to our Pioneer alumni and friends to help ease these students’ burdens and assist them on their journey towards earning a degree. Together, we can continue the 154-year-old mission of the university to make a high-quality education accessible for all, even in these extraordinary times.”
The emergency grants have already assisted students in basic needs such as food, rent, medicine, technology, childcare and other unexpected problems.
“Although the COVID-19 crisis will create a challenge for many students, we are fortunate to have a system already in place to efficiently provide students the resources they need in a timely manner,” said Joshua Boots, assistant vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Engagement. “The donations received from this initiative will go to immediate use, providing students much needed support in a time of great stress.
“Hitting the $100,000 goal would be monumental, but the impact on the students would be transformational. It would send a message to our students and our community that we are there to support them through this, that Pioneers help Pioneers.”