UFV campus in Abbotsford.

University of Fraser Valley raises over $83,000 for financially struggling students

Donations spiked on Giving Tuesday, but continue to flow in

In just over a month, the University of Fraser Valley has been able to raise over $83,000 for financially struggling students by reaching out to staff, faculty, donors, alumni and surrounding communities.

The Student Emergency Fund, the university’s the safety-net mechanism typically in place for struggling students, could not handle the “unprecedented” need stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Anita Nielsen, UFV’s executive director of advancement and alumni relations.

“What we had in our fund was not going to cover the need,” Nielsen said. “Up until now, the fund has really just been an internal system supported by staff and faculty.”

The university started to rethink ways to grow the fund during a discussion at an emergency operations committee, according to Nielsen.

“One of the members… suggested that since staff were now working remotely, we could ask them to redirect their parking fees [to the emergency fund],” she said. “We put that out to staff and we had a really great response.”

RELATED: UFV employees contribute almost $4,000 monthly to help students

Starting on April 1, UFV put out a call to help through social media, appealing to the public.

The donations spiked on Giving Tuesday – an annual decade-old-grassroots charity event with over 7,000 participating organizations, created in response to the enormous spending on Black Friday in the U.S.

“It’s always the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving, [but] the organizers decided to change the date to May 5 in response to the pandemic,” Nielsen said. “We had a lot on social media about it, and then we sent an email out to everyone that’s in our sphere – our alumni, our donors and a number of people that are connected to the university.”

Nielsen said donations have continued to flow in since, and they have exceeded their initial goal of 200 donors.

“I’m happy to tell you that since we sent out our thank yous, we’ve had another outpouring of donations and today (May 7) we got a gift of $10,000 from Auguston Development,” she said. “It’d be great if we could hit $100,000.”

The fund is distributed through UFV’s financial aid department and handled similar to a bursary. The aid is open to all students registered in at least two courses, who are able to demonstrate their financial need.

“I’m just so grateful to the community, to everyone that has supported us during this time,” Nielsen said. “It’s a difficult time for everyone, so the fact that people are giving so generously is incredible, and we’re very appreciative.”

RELATED: UFV student nurses offering respite to frontline nurses, care aides


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organizers of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival have decided to end the event after more than 20 years. / Bob Friesen File Photo
Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival cancelled – for good

Organizers say the event was so popular that too many people were attending to be sustainable

Owen Charpentier, 21, is charged with the Oct. 22, 2019 second-degree murder of Keith Baldwin in Chilliwack. (File)
Pre-trial dates set for Chilliwack man charged with Keith Baldwin’s murder

Owen Dale Charpentier accused in the fourth homicide of 2019 next in court June 2021

The 2020 Rotary Club of Chilliwack Book Sale is moving from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park to allow more room for physically-distanced shopping. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rotary Book Sale moves from Chilliwack Mall to Heritage Park

The hugely-popular book sale is going ahead Oct. 25-31 with pandemic protocols in place

Massimo Rizzo (Penticton Vees, BCHL), middle, tries to out-maneuver two Team Canada East players during a preliminary game at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge. Team Canada West won the all-Canadian matchup 6-1.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire Massimo Rizzo from Coquitlam Express

Chiefs hockey boss Brian Maloney has high expectations this season, and this trade is a sign of that

There have been several reports to the Chilliwack RCMP recently regarding a phone scam where the caller impersonates a local police officer and asks for money, they said on Oct. 19. 2020. (Miryam Leon/ Unsplash)
Chilliwack RCMP warn phone scammers are impersonating officers

RCMP officers would never solicit money or Bitcoin from someone, they assure the public

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Surrey teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

Most Read