ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration helps student faced with unexpected challenges from pandemic

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Arizona State University undergraduate student Gabriel White was just returning to Tempe from spring break in 2020 when COVID-19 began to shut down Arizona. 

When ASU announced that it would be transitioning away from in-person classes in response to the pandemic for the remainder of the spring semester, White was also notified that he would have to leave his on-campus housing. 

“It was hard to leave campus and return home,” White said. “I was leaving my friends and incurred expenses I wasn’t anticipating.” 

The pandemic also meant losing a planned paid internship in California that was no longer available. 

Once home in Salt Lake City, Utah, with numerous businesses closing, there were few job opportunities. Added to that, White helps support his two younger siblings. “A lot happened during this time,” White said. “I had to make some hard choices about my future.” 

To help students like White, the School of Earth and Space Exploration recently established the SESE Student Emergency Fund, to assist students in alleviating financial burdens and stress resulting from emergencies, and to help cover expenses related to travel, health care, housing or food insecurity.

“While we are doing everything we can to assist our over 400 undergraduate students and 140 graduate students by providing them with a safe and connected learning environment, our students continue to face difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic including job loss outside of the university and unplanned expenses related to housing, health care and essential supplies,” said Meenakshi Wadhwa, director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration. “For these reasons, we created the SESE Student Emergency Fund to meet the unexpected needs of our students.” 

With assistance from this fund, White was able to reduce some of the anxiety and stress of making ends meet and continue his studies at ASU. “Every little bit helps,” White said. “I would like to let the donors know this has a great impact.”

The school will continue to make this fund available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in an effort to support its students in their time of greatest need. Donors can visit the SESE Student Emergency Fund page to learn more about this fund and other giving opportunities at the school and at ASU.