IUP’s Giving Tuesday’s funds went to help the Student Assistance Fund.

Giving back to students has been the goal at IUP, but this year proved to be more important than ever.

IUP took part in Giving Tuesday this week to provide help to its students.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that pushes people and organizations to help their communities through donating and other means. Since it first began in 2012, the movement has raised millions.

It takes place the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year.

“IUP focused promotion of this opportunity to ‘give back’ on Giving Tuesday through the university’s social media platforms,” Executive Director of Media Relations Michelle Fryling said.

This included using the hashtag #GivingTuesday on Twitter.

IUP has done Giving Tuesday since 2017 and has raised $36,400 from combined donations of students, employees, alumni and friends.

These proceeds have always went toward helping students, but this year’s donations will go directly to IUP’s recently made Student Assistance Fund.

The Student Assistance Fund was first started by the school in March as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally called the Emergency Response Fund, the goal of it was to help students with costs toward technology, travel and other expenses due to the pandemic.

The fund currently has a goal of raising $1 million. So far, the fund has raised $295,437.47 and has helped 433 students.

Because this year’s Giving Tuesday proceeds are going to the Student Assistance Fund, there will be an increase in helping those who are struggling.

According to Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna, the vice president of university advancement, it is the right idea.

“For the last three years, funds raised during IUP’s Giving Tuesday have been directed to providing assistance to students in emergency situations,” she said.

When COVID-19 first broke out, Osseiran-Hanna said she knew that IUP would need to act fast.

“Families could no longer help their student with rent or food, and so many students lost their own jobs that were helping to finance their education,” she said.

Osseiran-Hanna related the necessity of helping these students to struggles she had seen in her home country, Lebanon.

“My home country has faced war and invasion. People lost their homes in an instant. That was the feeling I had as the pandemic hit the U.S. and our IUP alumni and friends all over the world.”

She said that it meant some of these students were “living on the edge,” and that there was no time to overthink the situation.

“We need to meet the needs of our students,” she said. “It’s just the right thing to do.”

The Student Assistance Fund is part of IUP’s Imagine Unlimited campaign, which was implemented to help transform IUP as a leader in enhancing student experience with grants, scholarships and more.

The goal of Imagine Unlimited is $75 million. It is currently at 99% of its goal. This is in part due to the many gifts provided to the school.

“When times are challenging and uncertain, support from our alumni, employees and friends becomes even more important in our efforts to provide stability and growth for our promising students,” Osseiran-Hanna said. “The love and passion that they have for IUP and our students is inspiring.”

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