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Fast Aid to Students in Need

Emergency Relief Fund Renders Fast Aid to Students in Need


Edisson Ramos and GroundhogDate published: April 3, 2020

For business major Edisson Ramos, BA ’20, and his Old Mill roommates, like for so many others, everything changed so quickly.

“I thought I had everything planned out,” said Ramos. “My internship was going great, classes were going great, and the relationships I’ve built with my classmates had never been better. Yet, everything seemed to happen so suddenly. On top of the ever-growing sadness of losing our last moments as seniors, my classmates and I are now having to deal with a very real problem that’s affecting the lives of people worldwide. I went from planning for spring break to saying goodbye to my alma mater. I went from being able to make ends meet, to suddenly trying to figure out how we were going to make it through the next month.”

For many students, internships and jobs — both current and those lined up for the future — have been lost. Ramos feels fortunate in this respect because his internship — in logistics for a company considered essential — is simply on hold for the moment, and he may be able to go back as early as next week; further, his post-graduation position in business-to-business sales with AT&T is still scheduled to begin in the fall, though the start date may be pushed back. One roommate, however, was interning at a law firm and has lost that position, because the firm simply had no need of him working from home.

“So many students I know have not only lost their current employment, but also their employment after graduation,” said Ramos. 

Answering Prayers of Hope

Edisson on MLK panel

A first-generation college student, Ramos has never had an easy time making ends meet. He has always figured it out, though, even when it meant living in his truck for a semester and joining the lacrosse team for access to the locker room; he knows that this time would have been no different, but he deeply appreciates the aid UD has been able to provide.

“I don’t know a lot of people who like asking for help; I know I am certainly not one of those people,” he said. “However, God works in mysterious ways.” 

Director of Financial Aid Taryn Anderson, BA ’07, contacted Ramos, getting boxes of food donated by Catholic Charities for him and his two roommates. A couple of days later, Anderson reached out again to see if Ramos needed help with any bills. 

“There really aren’t enough words to describe how thankful I am,” said Ramos. “Even when the world seems to crash down, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. The money donated will help me cover this month’s rent and pay for groceries … the money gave me another lifeline. Not knowing how you’re going to get by and receiving help when you need it the most is a feeling like no other. It gives you hope; it lets you know that God has your back.”

In appreciation for help he has received in the past, Ramos has already given back to the UD community with the establishment of the Groundhog Library, which provides UD students in need with textbooks that they can borrow for a semester at no cost.

Building a Generous Future

EdissonThe fund helping Ramos, UD’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, has currently raised nearly $90,000; the first of the funds were distributed last week to help students make their April rent, and Anderson is in the process of distributing a second wave to students with housing or food insecurity or in need of Wi-Fi or other resources for online learning. As many as 40 students have received assistance so far, including undergraduates in all four classes and graduate students in both Braniff and Gupta.

“This money will go a long way to help students,” said Anderson. “I am swamped right now with emails from students and requests for help.”

Donations to the fund have come from alumni, faculty and staff, trustees, parents, current students and other friends of the university. Some families have donated back to UD some or all of their refunds for the spring semester’s room and board.  

“The older I get, the more respect I have for UD's stewardship of a classical Catholic education that does not blindly chase the latest fads in higher education or in society as a whole,” said Alex Valadka, M.D., BS ’83. “As a physician on the front lines of the pandemic, and as a medical school faculty member who knows firsthand the impact of the pandemic on a university, I am acutely aware of the effects that the pandemic can have on a small, private university like UD.”

“I wish I could hug everyone who donated, but given current circumstances, maybe a high five from six feet away would do,” said Ramos. “I would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated for this cause. Many other students will also be touched by generosity. Know that you have made an everlasting impact in our lives. Thank you for reaffirming my hope; I know I won’t ever forget moments like this. You all helped me when I needed it the most, and whenever I am in the position to help in turn, I will never forget what others did for me. I wish I could thank you all personally, but I hope to live a life of paying it forward. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these dark times. May God bless you all.” 

If you are a student in need of assistance, please contact Taryn Anderson at taryn@udallas.edu or 972-721-5266.

Contribute to the fund here or by mailing a check to: Office of University Advancement, University of Dallas, 1845 E. Northgate Drive, Irving TX 75062. Please write “COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund” in the memo portion of your check.

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