The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham expands Student Emergency Fund

By Anniston Bieri

For more than a decade, the Student Emergency Fund has allowed Chatham University students to request funds to cover emergency expenses, ranging from money for groceries to medical bills. With the fund’s latest expansion, which was announced in late 2018, it’s now able to offer an even greater variety of aid for students who need it.

Students may now request access to showering and laundering facilities, housing, textbooks, the professional dress closet and several different resources for food. Students may also apply for access to the Essential Needs Closet, which is stocked with personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and even childcare items.

“These needs and services were identified by students,” said Dr. Zauyah Waite, vice president of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

In October 2017, Chatham partnered with the University of Pittsburgh and Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank and conducted a Hunger Study. Of the 394 sample pool of Chatham participants, 40 percent of respondents indicated some level of food insecurity and 17 to 20 percent of students didn’t seem to have the means to consistently afford hygiene products and appropriate clothing, the survey found.

Financial insecurity certainly isn’t just a problem, though, on Chatham’s campus. A 2018 report by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab titled “Still Hungry and Homeless in College” stated that “36 percent of university students were food insecure in the 30 days preceding the survey” and “36 percent of university students were housing insecure in the last year … [and] 9 percent of university students were homeless in the last year.”

According to a Federal Reserve report on the economic wellbeing of U.S. households, “Four in 10 adults in 2017 would either borrow, sell something or not be able pay if faced with a $400 emergency expense,” it said. “One in five adults cannot cover their current month’s bills, and one in four skipped a medical treatment in the past year due to an inability to pay.”

For those who find themselves in need, the Student Emergency Fund is an option for all students experiencing financial hardships. Application forms are available at in the “documents” section. From there, the form is listed under the Student Affairs page. Students typically receive funding a week or two after requesting it.

Students who are seeking essential needs items can visit the Office of Student Affairs, located on the first floor of Woodland Hall, to request them.

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