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Rebate donations total over $30,000 for W&M students in need

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    Helping hands  Many William & Mary students chose to forego their housing and dining rebates, opting to donate them back to W&M to support students with need.  Illustration by Karl Neiswender
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More than 50 students opted to donate their housing and dining rebates and parking refunds back to William & Mary in support of students in need, contributing a total of more than $30,000.

Last Friday, students received emails that linked them to an online portal that displayed the total amounts of rebates and parking refund for which they were eligible, based on their combination of services.

The portal also offered students the opportunity to donate the funds back to William & Mary by April 5 in support of student needs. The donation option was specifically requested by students interested in supporting their peers through the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been inspiring to witness the support from so many in our community,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement. “Students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends continue to provide vital resources that are helping those facing emergency situations during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The rebate donations will be directed to a restricted fund for use by Student Affairs in providing emergency relief to students in need.

Already, William & Mary has provided emergency support to more than 200 students, ranging from help for rent and food to transportation costs, including international flights home.

More than $140,000 in emergency funds had been disbursed to students in need by the end of March, using a combination of expedited housing rebates and donor-supported funds.

“I am impressed by the outpouring of generosity from these students, and their willingness to donate funds to support colleagues who are struggling more than they are,” said Amy Sebring, vice president for finance and technology. “Overwhelmingly, whether through financial contributions, volunteer efforts or other forms of outreach, W&M students continue to demonstrate their deep compassion and commitment to something bigger than themselves.”

To develop and communicate the systems that enabled the distribution of student rebates and their donation, Sebring led a working group that included staff members from advancement, athletics, auxiliary services, the Bursar’s office, communications, financial aid, financial operations, information technology and residence life.

The student rebate donations were not the first instance of William & Mary students stepping up financial support for one another. W&M Student Assembly has also allocated up to $20,000 for Student Affairs emergency support funds, with an additional $15,000 promised if needed.

Private support through the For the Bold campaign has also expanded resources for students and faculty. The newly established Health, Emergencies, And Resources for the Tribe (HEART) Fund, the Edith Rohlfs Marsh Endowment, the Student Affairs Emergency Fund (non-loan) and the Janet, John and Elizabeth Osborn Emergency Fund Endowment have all been used to support students during the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this month, an anonymous alumna donated $250,000, split between the HEART Fund and the Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation (STLI) Fund. In March, more than 100 individual donors gave a combined $18,000 to the HEART and STLI funds, as well as the International Student Scholarship Fund.

Editor’s note: To support William & Mary students, faculty and staff during this challenging time, please visit giving.wm.edu or call (757) 221-1008. 

Tina Eshleman, W&M University Advancement, contributed.