The Charger Blog

Graduate Students Support Each Other During Global Pandemic

Recognizing the impact of COVID-19 could present financial challenges for some of their classmates, the University’s Graduate Student Council is providing support to students in need. Their efforts are one of many ways Chargers are helping Chargers during this unprecedented situation.

April 9, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Graduate Student Council.
The University’s Graduate Student Council is providing support to graduate students in need.

Kacie Cressey ’18, ’20 M.S., president of the University of New Haven’s Graduate Student Council, understands that the global COVID-19 pandemic could present some financial difficulties for some of her fellow graduate students.

To assist students in need, the GSC has pledged $10,000 to purchase four hundred $25 electronic gift cards to Target, Walmart, and Amazon Pantry to help graduate students buy essential items.

"As a board, we wanted to focus on what we could do to support graduate students most affected by the pandemic," said Cressey, a candidate in the University’s graduate program in cellular and molecular biology. "We recognize the challenges graduate students are experiencing because of the pandemic aren't the same for everyone, and many of them need some additional help."

"It is refreshing to see our students – and the entire University community – come together to support one another."Steve Macchiarolo

The money allocated for the gift cards was originally intended for graduate student programs and events during the spring semester. Since the University made the decision that students would finish the spring semester remotely amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, many of the planned programs and events are now being held virtually.

"The GSC Executive Board brainstormed several different options to assist graduate students during this pandemic, and they wanted to have an impact on as many graduate students as possible," said Steve Macchiarolo, director of graduate student engagement. "To date, we have already delivered half of the $25 gift cards that the GSC has allocated."

Students recently received an email from the GSC president explaining the initiative and providing the link to an application. A subcommittee reviews the applications and grants gift cards based on demonstrated need.

Image of Kacie Cressey ’18, ’20 M.S.
Kacie Cressey ’18, ’20 M.S.

This is one of many initiatives that members of the University community are spearheading to help fellow Chargers during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, University Advancement has launched the Charge Ahead Student Support Fund and the Centennial Scholarship Fund to support the most urgent needs of students.

Macchiarolo praised the Graduate Student Council for their commitment to giving back.

"The leadership of the GSC executive board has been astounding," he said. "They are constantly evaluating the needs and concerns of their fellow graduate students and exploring other ways they can offer assistance during these challenging times. It is refreshing to see our students – and the entire University community – come together to support one another."

Throughout the shift to remote learning, the GSC has been responding to students’ questions and concerns. Student leaders have directed their peers to resources and departments, such as Graduate Student Services and the Dean of Students Office.

Cressey acknowledges that many graduate students don’t receive financial support from family members, and that many have been forced to move home because of the pandemic. For some students, this means returning to their families across the globe. She hopes the gift cards will serve as a reminder that they still have the support of the University community during this challenging time.

"We are very grateful for the kind responses we have been getting from students who have applied," said Cressey. "We are glad to hear that this initiative is appreciated and is filling a need for the students we represent. We realize that $25 isn’t enough for weeks of groceries, but we hope it will relieve some of their stress – even if just for a few days."

Help University of New Haven Students Charge Ahead

We've launched the Charge Ahead Student Support Fund in an effort to raise financial assistance for our students for such necessities as remote learning technology, food, housing, medical expenses, and other emergency needs. Please click here to make a contribution that will assist those in our University community who need our support.