In an outstanding show of support, Swinburne staff have rallied to contribute more than $50,000 to the university’s student support efforts addressing ongoing hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.
Swinburne’s Student Emergency Fund was renewed in early April as the university launched new fundraising efforts in order to provide critical financial assistance to students facing hardship. More than 3,000 applications have since been received, with many local and international students struggling to cover basic necessities such as rent, food, utilities and healthcare.
In an extraordinary university-wide effort 167 staff members have made a philanthropic donation to the university’s education and research initiatives this year, more than double the amount of any previous workplace giving appeal. The majority of these donations came from first-time staff donors and 15 staff have also committed to regular payroll donations.
Professor James Ogloff AM, who was recently appointed as a University Distinguished Professor, was one of the many staff members who were eager to support students directly affected by the COVID-19 situation.
“Students are the heart and soul of our university. It is of critical importance to support them at this difficult time,” he says.
Professor Ogloff was also moved by the generosity of his colleagues, saying “many staff members are experiencing hardships themselves, so it is heartening to see so many contribute to this important cause.”
Despite being only weeks away from retirement, Associate Professor Mary Kennedy-Jones who is Chair of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health decided to make a generous donation to the Student Emergency Fund.
“I wanted to contribute to support the university given the financial challenges it is facing, as well as help younger academics,” she says.
At the beginning of April Swinburne’s Executive Group announced they would be kickstarting fundraising efforts by taking a 10 per cent pay cut and would forgo any bonuses for this year. These funds were added directly into the Student Emergency Fund. Swinburne’s Council members have also stepped up and made generous philanthropic contributions.
“In a time that difficult for all, I am so grateful to all our staff for doing what they can to meaningfully support our students. I am continually reminded how fortunate I am to work with such a supportive and community-minded people at Swinburne,” says Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Linda Kristjanson AO.