The fourth annual campaign to support students at all colleges and schools in the University of Saskatchewan raised the record total from 450 donors over 24 hours on March 9, with participation from staff, faculty, students, alumni and community members.
Of the $90,000 raised, $45,000 was generously donated by Professor Emeritus Kay Nasser and his wife Dora as part of their ongoing commitment to match gifts to the campaign. This has been the Nassers’ fourth year matching donations to two funds—the President’s Student Experience Fund and the Nasser Family Emergency Trust Fund. This year, however, the Nassers also decided to match the funds raised by each of the participating colleges: medicine, dentistry, engineering, and arts and science.
Nasser, one of Saskatoon’s leading property developers and philanthropists, said he is passionate about being the major contributor to One Day for Students because of the support he received during his own experience as a student.
“If I didn’t get help at many stages when I was a student, I wouldn’t have done as well as I have in my life,” Nasser said.
The Nassers’ support is important to the many students who rely on the funds raised to help them pursue once-in-a-lifetime experiences outside of the classroom, or during times of unexpected financial hardship.
Kehan Fu, president of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, described the impact of the Nasser Family Emergency Trust Fund, which provides critical funding for students who are faced with unexpected financial burdens.
“A trust (fund) embodies a relationship of belief, faith and the ability to do something greater,” he said during the kickoff event in Place Riel.
Kiara Calladine, president of the Northern Administration Students Association (NASA), spoke on behalf of their student-run volunteer group, which is supported by the President’s Student Experience Fund. NASA helps Northern students transition to post-secondary education through support services such as tutoring and laptop lending, as well as their annual conference, which introduces high school students to the U of S experience.
Calladine said they are thankful for the resources that make their programs possible.
“The President’s Student Experience Fund is the only way we can bring everyone together,” she said.
Meanwhile, Alisha Esmail, owner of Road Coffee, offered free drinks in the student hub in the hopes that students and staff would donate to the campaign what they would normally spend on a cup of coffee.
“I believe our generation wants to give back and make a difference, but I think sometimes we’re unsure of how,” Esmail said.
“One Day for Students creates a platform for individuals to engage in philanthropy, but also represents a bigger picture of how we should be living our lives.”
Lindsay Royale is a communications co-ordinator in University Relations.