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viewpoint

Student emergency fund

| Thursday, April 30, 2020

Dear Notre Dame community,

There can be no doubt that we are all living through an unprecedented time of fear, sorrow and uncertainty. As we and fellow members of the class of 2020 reflect on the abrupt end to our time on campus, it is important to remember the individuals and families across the world who have fallen victim to the COVID-19 outbreak and the disruption of the global economy. There are so many people suffering in ways that those among us who are healthy and have financial security cannot begin to imagine. We believe that this is a time for the Notre Dame community to come together to help make a difference in the lives of students and their families who may be struggling in these difficult times.

As you know, Notre Dame gratefully decided to pro-rate room and board once the University was forced to transition to virtual learning. For underclassmen, this will come in the form of future credits. The decision will significantly aid many families as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic that has already crippled the lives of many workers in the United States and worldwide. At the time of this letter, a record 6.6 million Americans have filed new claims for unemployment in the past week, and these numbers will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks. Many members of our Notre Dame family have been severely afflicted.  

Recognizing this fact and reflecting on the Gospel’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have reached out to the University to propose a way to help struggling Notre Dame families. This student-led initiative is quite simple: Families who are able will have the option of donating “all or a percentage” of their room and board rebate or credit to the Student Emergency Relief Fund — a fund created to assist the financial needs of Notre Dame students and their families whose lives have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your family is able to participate, we invite you to contact Amy Schell, senior director of annual fund marketing and operations, at [email protected]

We completely understand that the pro-rata rebates and credits will be essential for many families at Notre Dame. At the same time, we encourage all who have the means to participate and join our campaign. As Jesus reminds us in Luke’s Gospel, “for everyone to whom much is given, much will be required.” There is truly an indelible spirit of the Fighting Irish that radiates from our desire to rally together in difficult times and to be a force for good in the world. We pray you are doing well and ask that you reflect on the positive impact that your tax-deductible donation could make if dedicated to the Student Emergency Relief Fund supporting vulnerable members of the Notre Dame community. In these trying times, let us exemplify the spirit of Notre Dame that we are so blessed to share — a spirit of love, compassion and community. 

Thank you and God Bless,

Joseph Staud

Hunter Urrea

seniors

Apr. 29

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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