How You Can Help Strengthen the Safety Net at UIS

Dear UIS alumni, donors and friends,

When I wrote you a few weeks ago, I shared the many actions UIS had taken to keep students, faculty and staff safe amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. I want to assure you we are adapting plans every day and taking whatever steps are necessary to ensure the health and well-being of all while we continue to deliver on the educational mission of our university.

Amid the uncertainty, it has been inspiring to watch how UIS faculty and staff have developed new and creative ways to teach and work remotely. They are delivering knowledge, finding innovative solutions and uplifting our UIS community as we collectively navigate the circumstances COVID-19 has presented. That is the type of flexibility, understanding and support students need at a time like this – when many are facing challenges and struggles due to the unexpected but necessary adjustments we have had to make during this Spring 2020 term.

I am so grateful for the generosity of UIS alumni, donors and friends. Many supporters have asked in recent weeks how they can help, and I want you to know that you can be a part of the safety net we are providing every day for our students. A global pandemic creates new challenges to be addressed. Some are issues we can anticipate – like students who need a laptop computer or additional software so they can learn from home successfully or students who need funding to pay their tuition bill because they have lost their part-time job. Other needs we cannot even imagine today will surely manifest.

For those of you who want to help students overcome the additional hurdles they are facing due to the pandemic, I encourage you to support one of these three funds with a contribution:

  • The Student Affairs Fund for Excellence provides unrestricted support to students in the areas of academic excellence and student enrichment. Dr. Clarice Ford, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and her team determine which departments and programs within Student Affairs receive support from this fund – support that best serves the most compelling student needs. Donations to this fund go to an array of offices and programs such as Disability Services, the Diversity Center and Veterans Services.
  • The UIS Cares Food Pantry Fund enables us to purchase non-perishable food items in bulk for the UIS Food Pantry. Many students with limited funds experience food insecurity on a regular basis, and the pantry is accessible year-round. Though the majority of our students have returned home for the rest of the semester, more than 100 students, including international students, have found it necessary to stay on campus during the governor’s stay-at-home order and are utilizing the Food Pantry today. Gifts to this fund will meet an immediate need as well as help us prepare for next semester.
  • The UIS Fund can be used as needed for a variety of purposes. Gifts made to this unrestricted fund will be allocated to various departments to help students address concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance: We plan to use some donations to this fund to purchase additional laptops and other devices for Brookens Library that can be loaned to students as needed.

Students, faculty and staff at UIS are adapting to this temporary “new normal” with remarkable resilience and courage. Our greatest aspiration is that students will not miss a beat when it comes to successfully completing the Spring 2020 semester and that they will move on toward graduation and the many future opportunities their UIS degree will provide.

A gift made now to one of these funds will be very meaningful and much appreciated. It will also be a message to our students that they are worthy of your investment at a time when they need it the most.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and please stay safe and healthy.

Susan Koch

Susan J. Koch
Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield

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