ASW announced Wednesday it would be supporting students displaced from the spread of coronavirus through a new COVID-19 relief fund. The student leaders say they can provide up to $400 per request, but students can appeal for more money.
After the administration announced Westminster College classes would be going remote, all events on campus for the remainder of Spring semester have been cancelled. This left ASW with surpluses in its events, clubs and administrative budgets.
While there wasn’t an exact amount of how much money was available, ASW President Maggie Regier said it was a “sizable amount.”
Rather than roll the money over to the next academic year, the student board said they decided to focus the funds on supporting students.
“We know that recent events have resulted in a lot of change, confusion, and disappointment as the college has moved online and many of us have moved to different locations,” the board said in an email sent out to students. “Many of you may have lost your on and off-campus jobs or needed to spend unanticipated funds for travel, and we as leaders of ASW want you to know that we are in this together.”
Students can fill out an application, requesting funds to go toward food, emergency travel, loss of housing, medical expenses, utility bills and other essential costs.
However, it cannot be used for tuition reimbursement, housing or meal plan reimbursement, non-essential personal bills or savings for future expenses. Other expenses will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
To qualify, students must be enrolled in at least two credits at Westminster and have an increased financial need caused by COVID-19. Funds will be disbursed as location-specific giftcards or check reimbursements rather than cash or checks.
The student board emphasizes the money given is not a loan — it doesn’t need to be paid back.
“It may feel difficult to find community in these times when we are physically distanced from one another,” the student board said. “But, we can still stay socially connected during these public safety measures through virtual means, and it is vital that we do so.”
Additionally, the ASW board encourages students to continue utilitizing social distancing practices, while also staying connected to the community in other ways.