Student emergency fund set to grow

Money raised from this year’s Winter Illuminations event will be donated to the university’s student emergency fund, as was announced during the Student Senate meeting on Nov. 18. 

This year’s Winter Illuminations event will be held on Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. in the D’Angelo Commons, between the school of business and the library. Last year, $301 was raised from the event, according to Student Programs, Leadership and Orientation.

“The whole point behind Winter Illuminations is to bring faculty and students of Roger Williams together to give back and have fun,” said freshman Jordan St. Onge, a student senator who oversees the Winter Illuminations committee. “The whole committee was unanimous as to donating the money to the Montefusco Fund.”

This fund is called the “Montefusco Fund” because it was established when former Director of Residence Life and Housing Tony Montefusco donated his last paycheck to it. Montefusco left the university in November 2018.

According to Assistant Vice President and Dean for Student Life Lisa Landreman, the fund was created to help students who face financial emergencies on campus, such as unexpected costs stemming from food, school supplies and transportation.

The fund has helped students since its creation, according to Landreman.

“This year I can think of three students who we have assisted from this fund,” Landreman said.   

“We have about $5000 roughly right now.”

That amount is entirely based on donations. However, Landreman believes the fund needs to grow.

“Our fear is that if we advertise that right now, we know the need is greater than that,” Landreman said.

According to a 2019 report by Hope4College, a non-profit that focuses on financial uncertainty in college students, 67% of students across the country faced some type of financial insecurity.

“We’re hoping to have enough so we’re never completely without [funding],” Landreman said. 

She said they are also working on a campaign to get donations from alumni and families of RWU students. 

“The plan is to have a link on our website that allows anyone to donate,” Landreman said. 

Landreman says this fund is part of a bigger effort by the university to help students who need it. The fund works in conjunction with the reopened Hawk’s Closet and food pantry on campus.

If any students need help, she said they can contact her or anyone in housing.

There is also discussion within the Senate about supporting the fund. 

“I think that the Montefusco Fund plays an important role in supporting members of the RWU family in times of need,” said St. Onge. “I do believe that the Student Senate should be funding some of the Montefusco Fund because our jobs as student senators are to represent the student body.”

No vote on the matter was held during the Senate meeting on Nov. 18, but the issue will be voted on in a future meeting.