Gender and Sexuality Center creates emergency fund for students in crisis

Emily Hernandez

Students who need help covering medical expenses, electric bills or next week’s groceries will be able to apply for the Gender and Sexuality Center’s new crisis fund.

The GSC is raising money for the fund through HornRaiser, the University’s official crowdfunding platform. GSC program coordinator KB said the center wanted its first HornRaiser to financially aid those who use the center, because the GSC is limited in funds. The center is funded through student tuition, but KB said it has not had the financial capacity to help students in the past.

“We want people to come to the GSC and feel like this is a place that they aren’t quite confronted with those challenges, or they’re alleviated at least,” KB said. “LGBTQIA+ and women populations seem to … have problems as it pertains to medical expenses or mental health things.”

KB said the center is working with Student Emergency Services, which has a similar emergency fund, to structure the way students apply and how funds are given to each applicant. 

“On the form we use, (there will) be pretty generic fields,” KB said. “(These include) health expenses, necessities, food, water, a place to stay, things like that. An example would be, ‘My water just turned off’ or ‘My therapist is $80 a session, and I need help with those costs.’”

According to the HornRaiser website, each campaign should have 2-5 ambassadors who support the project to spread the fundraiser. Advertising sophomore Sandra Tsang said she became an ambassador for the fund because the GSC helps the Silk Club by providing meeting spaces and printing their flyers. Tsang is the president and creative director of the club, which she said is a student organization for Asian women, nonbinary and femme creatives.

“I know friends personally who have had situations in which they weren’t able to pay for something or UT themselves weren’t able to provide them financial resources in times of need,” Tsang said. “The crisis fund … is essential to so many students here who aren’t able to get the support that they need from their family or mentors or even their own college.”

Tsang said the club hosted a profit-share at the boba tea restaurant Gong Cha and a clothing drive Wednesday to raise money for the fund. She said a portion of the club’s profits from selling merchandise and their biannual zine, or publication, from the club’s release party in December will also contribute to the fund.

Urban studies senior Lex De la Cruz Ramirez said they have worked for the GSC for three years and help run the center’s student leadership committee, which promotes the center’s resources. They said they became an ambassador because they have been involved at the center since their freshman year. 

“It’s been a phenomenal space for me personally,” Ramirez said. “I wanted to be an ambassador to spread this as a thing that the GSC is trying to do and also bring up how important this fund is for students in crisis.”

As of Wednesday evening, the GSC had raised $5,115, or 42%, of its $12,000 goal, and the HornRaiser ends Dec. 6.