UT Student Foundation supports student aid organizations with month-long fundraiser

Kaushiki Roy

The UT Student Foundation began its month-long fundraiser to raise awareness for organizations providing student aid on Oct. 1, and aims to double last year’s donations.

The event, called ContribUTe, is an annual project where students donate money or goods to the Student Foundation, which supports groups including the Student Emergency Fund, the UT Outpost, and the Counseling and Mental Health Center. 

Last year, students raised enough money to provide 130 students with a week’s worth of meals through the UT Outpost, said chemistry junior Sriranjani Darbha, vice president of internal and external relations for the Student Foundation. Over 120 students have donated so far, and the organization has raised around $3,900, already more than they raised this time last year, Darbha said.

“We want to support the students who might be forced to remain on campus because of their economic situations back home,” Darbha said.” It is important that they receive our support the most.” 

The organization has held all events virtually due to COVID-19. Their main form of connection to the student body is through social media sites like Twitter or Instagram, said Amber Keith, staff adviser of the Student Foundation.

 



To boost donations, the Student Foundation is giving out weekly prizes. Last week, the person who donated the most individual gifts received a free Kendra Scott present. Other incentives include UT-themed socks to anyone who donates over $18.83, based on UT’s establishment year. 

“There aren’t a ton of donation incentives because we hope to inspire a culture where students give altruistically,” Keith said.

In the following weeks, 21 members will host multiple virtual social events and seminars educating students and raising awareness for different causes. 

Ashlyn Meuse, vice president of the Student Foundation and an accounting sophomore, said the UT Outpost was one of the most popular groups for donations because it provides students with meals and lends professional clothing for interviews and presentations. 

Meuse said she feels like she grows and learns every time she participates in the Student Foundation.

“I believe it is partly everyone's responsibility to help our peers who struggle with food insecurity because that is what Texas stands for,” Meuse said. “Walking by the tower, you will see that our purpose is to transform lives for the benefit of society, and that starts with taking care of our own community.”