UNC students, alumni pull together to support complex, costly move to remote learning
Posted August 20, 2020 3:26 p.m. EDT
Updated August 20, 2020 5:52 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — After the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced that classes would be held only online and asked many to consider a move out of campus housing, the student body is finding ways to work together, primarily to support fellow students with the expenses of such a move. After all, students moved in just two weeks before the announcement.
"They spent their last rent check, their last meal to move onto campus. Some students are having to rearrange their whole life to be able to move back home," said Maya Logan, vice chair of the university Commission on Campus Equality and Student Equity.
Logan said, "As a recipient of a scholarship through UNC, I know the importance of having the financial support that many students on campus do have sand some do not have."
Student leaders said they felt the need to step up for their peers.
"The UNC System has failed here," said Greear Webb, a sophomore and member of the equality and equity commission. "Students are just continuing what we’ve been doing all summer and what we’ve always been doing as young people – that’s advocating for each other, sticking up for each other when sometimes adults may not stick up for us."
The commission is taking donations through Saturday at noon.
Logan said funds would be used to help students adjust, safely, to the new reality of remote learning.
"We are in a time where we need help. We are trying to navigate not only our lives but how we will continue our education at Carolina," she said.
The UNC Black Student Movement has also started a fund that has raised about $5,000, according to president Tamiya Troy.
"It’s been smaller donations, which goes to show how many people are giving what they can," she said.
BSM has already begun distributing funds for "housing, food, transportation, internet, any other needs that relate to remote learning or anything happening with COVID-19," she said. "We’re hoping to help a lot of people who are being displaced for being kicked off campus, but it’s not limited to that."
Troy, Webb and Logan all mentioned the suddenness of the UNC decision, which came just a week after classes resumed. The university made the announcement on Monday and shifted classes to remote learning on Wednesday. Students didn't even have a day off to move.
"It’s taking an emotional toll," Webb said. "We’re looking for a pause. We’re looking for a time to regroup and allow students to center themselves."
In addition to student-led efforts, UNC offers $400 to help students who get need-based financial aid move back home and $200 to students who need help paying for internet.