Barry McNamara  |   Published January 25, 2021

Scots Care

Scots Senate creates emergency fund for students hit hard by pandemic; fund is at $23,000 and counting

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s student government has continued a campus tradition of “looking out for each other,” raising more than $23,000 for an emergency fund to help students who have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ABIERRE MINOR: President of Scots Student Senate was instrumental in helping create new emergency... ABIERRE MINOR: President of Scots Student Senate was instrumental in helping create new emergency fund for students.“During the pandemic, we realized that there is a lot of financial strain on students,” said Abierre Minor ’21 of Chicago, president of Scots Student Senate. “Even if we think about the stimulus and other federal programs, students cannot qualify for that, so we recognized that students were really in a vulnerable state. We wanted to create a fund that can help with that and bring some financial security to the students on campus.”

Dubbed Scots Care, the fund is available to all Monmouth students. The emergency fund helps subsidize items such as travel expenses, books, laundry, food and other needs. Anybody can apply to receive the funds, said Minor.

“Originally, we were reaching for the stars,” she said of a financial goal. “We hoped the fund would reach a figure like it has. We were OK with a lower figure, but to get to something like $23,000 and counting is really beautiful. It’s a testament to the community strength right now. We’re a community-oriented school. We look out for each other and we take each other seriously. We’re a tight-knit group.”

Minor said one of the incentives for creating Scots Care was the story of a particular student who is no longer at Monmouth – an international student who had received a full scholarship from his country to attend Monmouth and was fully engaged as a student, but who lost his funding because of the pandemic.

“I think the purpose of student government is to serve students and to tap into the needs of the community.” Abierre Minor

“That’s when we really came to the table as Scots Senate and said, ‘We really need to do something about this,’” she said. “I think the purpose of student government is to serve students and to tap into the needs of the community. We are so blessed to have people contributing to the fund. It’s going to impact and enrich so many lives.”


Team effort

The College’s administration also played a key role in making Scots Care a reality.

“The idea was mentioned in the Scots Senate officer meeting with Dean (Michelle) Merritt and myself,” said Co-Dean of Students Karen Ogorzalek, who said Vice President for Development and College Relations Hannah Maher was also part of the conversation. “With Hannah’s team’s assistance, we were able to offer an online application for the students.”

Technology was one of the most requested items from Scots Care. A number of laptops were subsequently purchased for students.

“It was heartwarming to see this project progress from concept to reality,” said Ogorzalek. “The recipients were so thankful. We appreciate all the generous donors who helped and will continue to help students reach academic success through this fund.”

Scots Care is a way to reach out to students while opportunities to physically reach out have been limited, providing some of the compassion and empathy that can’t be shown in person during the pandemic.

“One of the things that this pandemic has taken away from us is that interaction with each other and a lot of the physical community building that we do,” said Minor. “Within my friend group, when we’d see each other on the sidewalk, we’d hug. We’ve all missed a little bit of the hugs, the physical encouragement that you get on campus. Even just people waving at you or talking to you randomly.”


Added stress

Ogorzalek noted that the pandemic “has caused additional stress on many students, specifically financial stress.”

“College is stressful as it is. Add a pandemic and that stress skyrockets,” said Ogorzalek. “This is an outlet to relieve some of the financial stress for the students. Thanks to the noble and considerate work of Scot Senate, they have left an impactful legacy to the current and future Monmouth College students.”

“The recipients were so thankful. We appreciate all the generous donors who helped and will continue to help students reach academic success through this fund.” Karen Ogorzalek

A political science and international studies major, Minor believes it won’t be the last time she leads an impactful community initiative. She hopes to run for office one day and be “an accomplished politician,” potentially starting with an internship in Springfield.

“I want to make a maximum impact for the communities I care for and the American people, in general,” she said.

Listen Up …

Abierre Minor ’21 discusses Scots Care on the 1853 Podcast; interview begins at the 17:14 mark.

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