CSM Assists Students By Connecting Them to Resources, Loaning Laptops, Providing Financial Aid

CSM Foundation Raises Nearly $50,000; Provides Emergency Financial Aid to Students in Need

The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) is responding to the COVID-19 crisis by reaching out to students to offer a variety of assistance.

“A lot has changed in a very short period of time for CSM, and really for the entire world,” shared CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “Since moving instruction to a virtual environment March 16, our new normal of social distancing, online learning, and remote services can leave us feeling disconnected and uncertain. But one thing is certain: We stand united in this fight and everyone at CSM is doing all we can to help our students, and our community.”

“We Are Here For You”

After closing campuses to the public March 17 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, faculty and staff immediately began an outreach effort to help students impacted by the shift in learning and the economy. More than 500 students responded to a needs-assessment survey, and the CSM Outreach staff called each student to check in with them, share lists of resources available through the community, and offer help where possible.

“We initiated a laptop loaner program to provide students with computers and deadlines for students on tuition payment plans were postponed,” said Murphy. “Our CSM Foundation went to work right away to help students financially by establishing the CSM Hawks Student Emergency Fund to help students with food and incidentals.”

By April 1, the CSM Foundation had provided more than $25,000 in student emergency aid including funds for 125 students who identified food insecurity as an issue.

“We are humbled by our donors, many of them alumni and CSM employees, who immediately gave to our CSM Hawks Student Emergency Fund so that we could provide financial assistance to students facing unprecedented hardships,” said CSM Vice President of Advocacy and Community Engagement and the Executive Director of CSM Foundation Michelle Goodwin.

“There are no conditions on the money we gave to our students,” Goodwin continued. “It is not a loan. It does not need to be paid back. When we tell our students ‘we are here for you,’ we mean it.”

Hawks Helping Hawks

CSM Fundraising continues online, and behind the scenes, Goodwin added.

Eighty-seven donors have raised nearly $50,000 online through social media to assist students with food and living incidentals, transportation and education supplies; transportation; and tuition assistance. CSM Foundation Director Emeriti and alum Linda Cox offered to match donors, dollar-for-dollar up $10,000 and Allan Dansie – a community donor – is matching up to $5,000.

“It is my honor to help our students in any way possible,” said Cox, “and I’m asking all of my friends and family to do the same.”

Local employers and businesses are also chipping in. Last week, the Dunkirk-based full-services facilities and infrastructure solutions provider, PATRIOT – donated $10,000 to help CSM’s most vulnerable students experiencing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“PATRIOT understands the devastating economic impact that this virus has had on businesses, families, the education system and most importantly its students,” the company said in a statement. “As a proud supporter of our local community PATRIOT recognizes the importance of empowering students in any way possible to afford them the opportunity to continue their education.”

“Also, our CSM Student Government Association (SGA) is contributing to our efforts,” shared Goodwin, explaining that the SGA donated $5,000 to help their fellow Hawks. “We are extremely grateful to all who have given from their heart – even when they too are being impacted during these difficult times.”

“Giving Tuesday Now” May 5

Anticipating that hardships will continue because of the pandemic, the CSM Foundation will join the global movement #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a day of giving and unity that will take place on social media May 5, 2020 as an emergency response to the unprecedented needs caused by COVID-19.

Every year in December, CSM participates in the annual Giving Tuesday campaign to raise money for college’s scholarships, and various campaigns that benefit student learning. In 2019, the CSM Foundation saw generosity in action when 247 individuals provided more than $137,800 during Giving Tuesday to bolster initiatives that provide scholarships, programming and leadership potential for students at CSM.

“This is what the Foundation does, and it is more important now than ever, we support student needs with emergency funds, including food, technology, and tuition assistance,” said CSM Foundation Chair Kim Rosenfield.

The Foundation is coining its upcoming effort “HELP A HAWK on May 5” and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the CSM Hawks Student Emergency Fund.

Coronavirus Update

CSM last week announced that it will maintain a virtual learning environment for its students for the rest of the spring semester and faculty and staff will continue to operate remotely through May 31. CSM’s campuses remain restricted to pre-approved and authorized personnel. This date may again be extended as CSM stands united with the nation in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Along with limiting public access to campuses, CSM has made several operational changes that can be tracked at ready.csmd.edu/covid-19/.  Please visit the website often for resources and updates.

Students should make sure they are monitoring their CSM student email accounts, as well as the MyLearning course shells for their individual courses, and stay in close contact with their professors if they have any questions about their courses.

CSM remains in close contact with local, state and federal authorities, and will share information as quickly as possible when and if these new operating conditions change. All updates can be found at http://ready.csmd.edu/.