There isn’t a single student at Lafayette untouched by the educational, emotional, or financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended the spring semester. But there was, and still is, a subset of students who are bearing the burden of all three—those experiencing financial challenges on top of the myriad other impacts the virus has caused on their educational experience and in their personal lives.
In early March, the serious needs of some students began to surface: a plane ticket home, personal care items and school supplies, technology, etc. As the situation unfolded, some students were faced with the realization that they could not return home due to travel restrictions. As the country sheltered in place, so did approximately 200 students on Lafayette’s campus. With work-study programs canceled and other forms of employment suspended, some students needed help.
Fortunately, many were able to receive support from two College emergency funds established to address situations such as the financial hardship caused by COVID-19. The James F. and Donna L. Krivoski Student Assistance Endowment Fund and Lafayette Student Emergency Fund provided the much-needed financial support for students with urgent needs. Since early March, more than 300 alumni, parents, and friends have collectively contributed more than $20,000 to the funds.
“We worked around the clock to help students navigate the travel challenges,” explains Rev. Alex Hendrickson, College chaplain. “One student in particular was able to secure one of the last flights back to his country of origin.”
Click here to make a gift to support students who have been impacted by COVID-19.
These opportunities, called “micro-internships,” are available through a partnership with Parker Dewey.
“The way the mechanics of this partnership work is that the employer provides the project work,” explains Mike Summers, assistant vice president of Gateway Career Center. “Parker Dewey makes sure that it meets all of the minimum criteria for it being a viable project that will be paid. Applicants are screened and chosen depending on how many are needed for that project. Once the project is completed to client satisfaction, Parker Dewey pays the student. These are Fortune 100 companies, nonprofits, or startups. We are hopeful the broad scope will appeal to the wide-ranging interests of our students.”
The Queer Archives Project (QAP), a digital humanities site that documents and preserves the experiences of Lafayette’s LGBTQ+ community, was recognized with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) 2020 Award for Access. CRL is an international consortium of university, college, and independent research libraries with over 200 members, and the national award recognizes “work promoting primary source materials … that has resulted in expanded discovery, appreciation, and usage, ultimately having a significant impact on research or instruction.”
Led by Skillman Library’s College Archives and Digital Scholarship Services and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program, QAP interconnects the LGBTQ+ oral history project with items from the Lafayette College Archives. A key goal of QAP is the promotion of Queer studies across
the Lafayette curriculum.
Launched in 2019, the QAP site was the vision of Mary Armstrong, Dana Professor of WGSS and English. The project eventually grew into six years of collaborative efforts among faculty, staff, and students. “The project emerged from my interest in connecting students to Lafayette history to find concrete examples of what we were studying,” Armstrong says.
Read more about the QAP at queerarchivesproject.lafayette.edu