For most working adults, a stolen bike is not a big deal. But if you are a college student, your bike might be the only way for you to get to class or the part-time job you need to pay the rent.
Advertising and public relations major Favian Mendez Rodriquez relied on his bike for just this purpose. That's why he was devastated when his bike was stolen from outside his home in September.
Rodriquez filed a police report but wasn't confident he'd ever see his bike again, and the paycheck from his job was just enough to cover his other expenses. He needed a new bike and couldn't afford one. He didn't know what to do until his academic adviser suggested he apply for the College of Journalism and Mass Communications' expanded emergency support fund.
For several years, the college has offered emergency scholarships to students in unforeseen situations, but there wasn't any support for students with other needs. That changed in the fall of 2020.
"When I started meeting the college's alumni in the summer, many wanted to help in ways that would have an immediate impact on students," said Shari Veil, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. "We had a small emergency fund at my previous institution, and I believed such a fund could make an impact here."
UNL Alumni Phil Perry and Jody Beck immediately pledged to help launch a new fund for students in the college. Their contributions helped establish the "Student Emergency Relief Fund." The Fund helps students cover non-academic costs or "life interruptions" that could threaten their progress toward a degree.
Students can apply for an emergency relief award anytime online on the college's website. The college's leadership team reviews the applications. Several emergency relief award applications were funded this fall. Future awards will be funded by contributions from the college's generous alumni.
Alumni may contribute to the Student Emergency Relief Fund through the University of Nebraska Foundation.