Call for COVID-19 testimonials for GSA fundraising

by Daina Tagavi, Professional Development Peer
Tuesday, April 28, 2020 9:00 AM

The GSA Executive Board is requesting ​graduate student help to support ​the collective graduate student community. As you hopefully know, this month the GSA established ​the COVID-19 Relief Grant (to which you can apply here) with an initial $25,000. As COVID-19 has continued to change university life since then, ​GSA has combed through ​their budget and come up with an additional $10,000, effectively maxing out all of the remaining funds in the GSA budget for the 2019-2020 academic year. The GSA has also exhausted ​their Child Care Grant, and are nearly out of funds for ​their Emergency Grant. ​They have also been working with the Graduate Division, who ​they convinced to donate an additional $10,000, bringing the fund to $45,000. This is still not enough money to support all of the grads that have already submitted an application, or may need to during the harsh summer months the university is anticipating. 

The GSA is now seeking additional funding from private donors by working with John Loftus, ​the Assistant Dean of Graduate Fundraising, and ​is asking you to share your story of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your life. As a consequence of the misunderstandings that the general public has about what it is to be a graduate student, many of these potential donors simply have no idea what ​graduate student lives are like here at UC Santa Barbara. Though submitted anonymously, the GSA will ensure your testimonials are further anonymized to protect your identity before being given to individuals who want to donate to help graduate students directly. 

The GSA wishes there were other options for securing funding to support ​graduate students and ​their families. ​However, potential donors don’t know what ​graduate student lives are like, and ​GSA believe​s they will be moved by graduate student stories. Many of these donors do not understand that ​graduate students send money home to ​their families, or live with and take care of parents and children; that ​graduate students work seventy plus hours a week; or that ​they have medical conditions that exacerbate all of this. ​GSA wants to let you know that they genuinely believe a little knowledge will go a long way.

If you are interested in sharing how COVID-19 has affected your life, please share it with ​the GSA here. These are completely anonymous and will only be used for the purpose of fundraising with private individuals. Any identifying information will be removed, unless you indicate on the form you want your narrative passed along as you submitted.

The GSA thanks you for your understanding, your patience, and for your continued and unwavering tenacity in the face of this extraordinary crisis we are living through.