Members of AFSCME Local 1890 recently made a gift of $750 to the Student Emergency Fund. The gift was made in honor of the university’s 125th anniversary and represents roughly $1.25 from each of the union’s more than 600 members. The chapter represents all clerical and paraprofessional staff at NIU.
Originally, the leadership of the union had planned to conduct a fundraising campaign over several months, with members spreading out across campus and collecting donations to benefit the Huskie Food Pantry. Then came COVID-19 and, like many things related to the university’s anniversary, those plans had to be altered a bit.
While the pandemic made face-to-face fundraising impossible, it did nothing to change the union’s determination to make a gift. In fact, it only reinforced it, said local chapter president Angie Gasero.
“As we watched the pandemic unfold, we wanted to do something to help our students,” she said. “Most of our members work with students all of the time, and we wanted to help support them through this difficult period.”
The plan to give the money to the Huskie Food Pantry also changed as the scope of the need became clearer. “Many of us have had our own struggles, but we wanted to show that we really care about our students. When the Student Emergency Fund was created it was a natural place to direct our support,” Gasero said.
Established in April, the fund assists struggling students with resources and funding to get access to technology, employment, housing, meals, transportation and other critical, basic needs. To date, the fund has distributed more than $1 million in assistance to more than 3,300 students.
The gift, which was the first major philanthropic effort by AFCSME Local 1890, was made in late July, using money from the general fund.
“I am deeply grateful that AFSCME Local 1890 chose to support the Student Emergency Fund,” said NIU President Dr. Lisa Freeman. “Their selection of this fund, and the generosity that their members have shown – both through this gift and through support by individuals – demonstrates what a caring campus community we have, and how each of us is here to support our students.”
Donations to the Student Emergency Fund can be made through the NIU Foundation, and 100% of all gifts to the fund will be used to provide direct support to students in need.