Emergency student fund endorsed by Waterloo housing activists

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Student housing advocates are endorsing an emergency fund for UW students. 

The Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) partnered with UW to launch the Student Emergency Support Fund for UW students who are affected by economic shockwaves from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Students will be able to apply for the Student Emergency Support Fund before the end of April.

“We hope this opens up this week. UW is working to get GSPA (grads and postdocs) and SAFA (under the Registrar) into a collective application form, but short of that I think the intention is to advance this as quickly as possible,” Seneca Velling, WUSA’s VP of Operations said.

The fund has received over $200,000 in donations since the alumni engagement campaign was kickstarted on Monday, Apr. 6. 

“We are struggling to sublet our apartments, which inevitably leaves us to pay for places we are not even residing in,”  Sylvia Skoruch, creator of the Waterloo Housing Crisis student activist group said.

“In addition to rent, students are struggling to pay for tuition and other expenses. Some students cannot apply for government support because they don’t meet the standards qualified for unemployment, for example not working enough hours.”

WUSA’s Internal Funding Committee invested $30,000 in initial capital from this fiscal year’s expendable allowance from the Student Life Endowment Fund (SLEF).

“With this whole crisis going on, a lot of us students are facing significant challenges, most notably financially and emotionally,” Skoruch said.

“Many of us are forced to live in social isolation outside of our student residences, typically with our families. University classes have also been switched to online, so the need for student housing and accommodations have decreased.” 

Co-op placement cancellations have caused a major loss of income for students who already faced a competitive housing market. 

“WUSA announced a Student Emergency Support Fund and has successfully raised up to $200,000 since its launching. I am so pleased with the actions being taken by WUSA and the University,” Skoruch said. 

UW Advancement has been working on getting more donors to expand the outreach of the fund. All donors will receive charitable tax receipts for making a contribution. 

“I believe WUSA is doing an amazing job in advocating for students’ needs and helping to alleviate some of the stress. They continue to support students in every way that they can. Thank you WUSA,.” Skoruch said. 

You can find the Student Emergency Support Fund page here

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