Tuesday, the University of Colorado Boulder announced Buffs Together, an initiative to help CU Boulder students, faculty and staff affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Despite the current distances between us, we stand shoulder to shoulder —just like we always have,” said Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a CU Boulder Today article. “We’re facing the global coronavirus pandemic as a community: We are all Buffs together.”
As part of the campaign, the university will match donations up to $1.6 million made to the Student Emergency Fund and Staff & Faculty Emergency Fund. This matching gift, according to CU Boulder Today, is funded by revenue from vending machines and insurance rebates. While the Student Emergency Fund existed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, a new fund has been established for CU staff and faculty in light of the pandemic, CU Boulder News Director Julie Poppin said in an email. She added that a similar fund was established for staff and faculty during the 2013 floods in Boulder.
Funds may cover expenses such as housing, medical costs not covered by insurance, unplanned travel, food and more. According to CU Boulder today, more than 145 students have asked for emergency financial assistance as of Tuesday. Individuals who apply for either fund can earn up to $500 in assistance, though Poppin noted that this figure is flexible and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
She said the university is working with the Office of Financial Aid to issue direct deposits to people’s bank accounts. If a person does not have a direct deposit set up they will instead receive a check.
“The hope is to coordinate multiple efforts around campus to assist those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic—whether they are frontline health workers or CU Boulder students,” Poppin said. “We are also striving to build momentum around volunteerism and show our ‘can do’ spirit as Buffs through use of the #ShoulderToShoulder hashtag.” The hashtag is based on CU Boulder’s fight song.
According to CU Boulder Today, the initiative reflects, in part, a crowdfunding campaign of the same title led by CU Boulder alumna and Rhodes Scholar Serene Singh to support students affected by the pandemic.
CU has also added a page to its Volunteer Resource Center website informing people of ways they can volunteer, contribute talent and equipment and donate funds to COVID-19 causes.
“Right now, we’re physically apart,” the webpage reads. “But nothing can truly separate the spirit of a Buff from another Buff.”
Poppin said the campaign will last until the end of the semester and then be re-evaluated.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Anna Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org.