Since January, I have been serving as the Interim President of the Dawson College Foundation. When I accepted this mandate, I could never have imagined the crisis we are all living through at this moment. At the last meeting, we were looking forward to our spring fundraising events, including Artists in Bloom, the Tony Proudfoot Ergathon and the Dawson College Golf Tournament.
Now two of those events have been cancelled because we are all asked to stay home to save lives. A crisis helps us see things more clearly and focus on the essentials. Clearly, there is a role for the Dawson College Foundation in mobilizing support for our students. At the moment, we would like to ask you to help us support students who have been hit hard by COVID-19 and its economic fallout.
Can I count on you to help us meet some of the pressing needs of our students?
Students will need our help to stay in school. Yes, Dawson College receives government funding to fulfill the educational mission of the College. We are asking for your help to feed our students, provide them with textbooks and give them life-changing beyond- the-classroom enriching experiences, like representing their school in sports tournaments and participating in special projects.
On March 13, our students left for the Study Break week. They will likely not be returning to Dawson College for a while. Before this began, about 1,000 students received help through the Aide Financière aux Études governmental program and 100 students regularly used our Food Bank, run by the Financial Aid Office.
Dawson’s Student Services team is bracing for a big surge in demand when the students return to the College. The pandemic has not peaked yet in Montreal, yet young people and families are already feeling the financial impact as many people are losing their jobs and businesses pause operations or close.
The Dawson College Foundation is here to support Dawson students.
To do this, we will need your help. Today, we ask you, if you are in a position to give back, to help us give a warm welcome to our students when they return with needed food and hygiene products, with funding for textbooks and an emergency fund for desperate situations of our students.
I know we can do it. This community has a big heart and is resourceful. The way that Dawson College is responding to this crisis is evidence of our caring community and our let’s-do-it attitude!
I am proud of Dawson employees who are working hard to salvage this semester for our students. Many teachers and staff are doing things they have never done before. It is not easy, but we won’t give up.
Hundreds of classes and thousands of students have been making the move to online learning in the past week. If we can do that, I am sure we can mobilize support for students who are struggling.
We are in this together and we will get through this together.