The Light the Way Emergency fund helps students in a dark spot
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Campus News

The Light the Way Emergency fund helps students in a dark spot

Published 8/25/15

Kortney Harris

TNE Writer

President Steve Turner established the Light the Way Emergency Fund May 2013. The purpose of this fund is to aid college students while dealing with a short-term financial hardship.

The fund assists with natural disasters, unexpected loss, emergency house relocation, medical issues, or any other unanticipated emergency.

“Getting through college has always been hard, but many of our students today overcome tremendous obstacles to be able to attend college,” said Sheila Self, assistant vice president of student affairs. “When things don't go according to plan, or when unforeseeable events create unanticipated expenses, for many of our students this means they cannot continue with their education simply because they no longer have the means to do so.”

Sierra Dorey, Tahlequah junior, sheds light on a fire that started in her previous house back in Idabel.

Dorey said her mother had accidentally left a stove burner on and proceeded back to her room. Grease on the stove lit the fire and there was no fire alarm.

“Unfortunately my mom did not survive the accident and my home did not either,” said Dorey. “It did affect me academically and financially. When this happened, it definitely left us stranded.”

Dorey said although she did not know about The Light the Way Emergency Fund, she received help in other ways and is thankful NSU provides this fund to help in situations similar to her own.

“I did not know about this fund,” said Dorey. “When something tragic happens, it doesn’t just hurt you financially but emotionally as well. I never understood why funds like these were important until it affected my life.”

Requirements include the student should provide proper documentation, be in good standing with the university and be enrolled in at least 6 hours.

To start the award process, the application would be looked over by Sheila Self, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs. Self said the application and awarding process is very straight forward.

Students may be required to meet with members of the review committee to discuss their situation. Applicants can apply for the fund at any time; however, they will only be awarded once during their time at NSU.

“After every award, we as a committee often discuss how amazed we are to hear the stories of what our students sacrifice and face in order to attend NSU,” said Self. “This fund can be the difference between someone dropping out and someone being able to continue on to their degree.  I feel fortunate to be able to offer this option to students facing those kinds of decisions.”

Peggy Glenn, Executive Director of the NSU Foundation, said those who receive the fund are not required to pay back the amount but are encouraged to so others may be helped in the future.

“By paying it forward, a student who has been helped by the Light the Way Emergency Fund can in turn light the way for a future student,” said Glenn. “It emphasizes the fact that the student received help only because some generous people believed in NSU and the students it serves, and that if the student gives back, NSU can increase the help available to students down the road.”

Glenn said various donors and The Light the Way Emergency Fund was featured make contributions in NSU Foundation's 2014 annual report.

“We raised $125,000 from a variety of donors, including individuals, corporations and primarily an estate gift from two sisters who graduated from NSU in the 1940s named Mary Kathryn and Eva Harriett Stewart,” said Glenn. “A full list of donors can be found on a plaque by the Dean's office in Seminary Hall.”

Dorey said a fund like this allows those who have been affected to build themselves up financially while undergoing the emotional issues involved with the situation.

“This fund allows you to not have to worry as much about money so you can work on healing your emotional side,” said Dorey. “I’m thankful that people are so kind and generous to donate and make a difference in someone’s life that they do not know.”

The fund aids those who are put in a dark spot during their college career. Although the situations are extreme, NSU provides help to those in need.

“This fund is special, in my opinion, because of the lives it touches,” said Self. “It can be a very humbling experience, and it always reminds me of just how fortunate I have been and how much I take for granted every day.”

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