U Giving Day: Raising critical emergency funds

U Giving Day is Feb. 23 and 24, and is a celebratory event that raises critical funding for projects such as the Student Emergency Fund, For Utah Scholarship, health care innovations, research, arts and culture and many more.

Help the University of Utah imagine more together this U Giving Day by making a gift, spreading the word, or participating in a challenge or event.

This U Giving Day you can support key priorities like the Student Emergency Fund and double your impact. The U’s National Advisory Council members are generously matching gifts of all sizes, up to $25,000, to the Student Emergency Fund.

The Student Emergency Support Fund launched in March 2020 to help students impacted by unforeseen circumstances created by COVID-19. The fund helps to meet our student’s immediate needs and overcome difficult setbacks; provide internet or technology; offer basic necessities, such as transportation and housing; return students home; provide assistance for lost wages and other unplanned life events.

Student Emergency Fund Impact

Over $200,000 was raised from 720 donors in 2020 and immediately put to work for students. There were nearly 4,000 submitted applications and the U was able to award 1,100 students funding.

 Student Emergency Fund Stories

Olivia Teerlink, like other University of Utah students, was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic; trying to pay for school in a time when businesses were closing, jobs were scarce, and the future looked very uncertain. So she applied for emergency funding.

“I remember filling out an application, just because with Covid and everything my parents’ business was shut down so my parents were out of work in California,” she said. “I saw the opportunity and I thought, well I’m definitely in different circumstances than I would normally be in right now. So I just kind of went for it. And then when I got the email I was like, ‘oh my gosh!’ ”

A double major in psychology and sociology with minors in health and nutrition, Teerlink was one of multiple students to receive emergency funding this year. Additionally, she hopes to continue her education and to be admitted into the University of Utah’s Health and Kinesiology program and is thankful to the U community for keeping her on track.

“My favorite thing would have to be my sense of community and relationship with U students and alumni now that I’ve been here,” she said.  “I came here not knowing anybody and now I feel like I’m part of a cool family.”

Virgil Lund, a student recipient of emergency funding is a graduate student studying urban development and is thankful for the support to stay on course in his education.

Lund has been using the emergency funds he received to pay for his graduate school tuition and is thankful to the donors who helped.

“I’d like to thank them for thinking of college students at a time like this because people may be focused on other things but college students are struggling with finding jobs and definitely trying to pay for school at a time like this is really difficult,” Lund said.