It didn’t take long for family members to step up and help students — even ones they weren’t related to.
On March 26, a Facebook post asked UNLV’s Rebel Family Network group for hygiene supplies and food for the 180 students remaining in the residence halls. Just three days later, all of the items on the Amazon wish list had been purchased.
“Wow, it was really fast,” said Heather Rappaport, director of development for UNLV Student Affairs Division. She coordinates the network.
When students were asked to leave the residence halls to reduce the spread of COVID-19, not every student could leave. Students with special circumstances were allowed to remain. Last week, they were reassigned into single occupancy rooms so they wouldn’t have to share a bathroom with another person.
For many of the students, UNLV is their only home. Students in the Homeless Outreach Program for Education Scholars (HOPE) have identified themselves as having experienced homelessness or they grew up in the foster system. HOPE scholars stayed in the residence halls. International students also stayed.
Rappaport created the Amazon wish list for the students remaining in the residence halls and posted about it on the Family Network Facebook group. The network is a year old and its 1,800 plus members were quick to mobilize.
Some purchased items directly from the Amazon list, others shipped their own donations or dropped them off at campus.
The generosity has caught on. A group of anonymous donors who previously have helped the HOPE Scholars dropped off loads of toilet paper and groceries while UNLV employees collected supplies from among their own social media networks.
As soon as the supplies came in — everything ranging from cleaning products to snacks — they were organized into 180 grocery bags for students to pick up along with the take-out meals that UNLV Dining prepares for residents on the meal plans.
The list of items have been checked off but those needs can change as the COVID-19 situation unfolds.
Some students have been hit hard financially. Some need assistance with bills, basic necessities, and most importantly, they need emotional support.
“It’s hard. We are in a wait-and-see mode. We are committed to helping students. We’re not leaving them alone,” Rappaport said.
Another way to help students at UNLV is to make a donation to the UNLV Emergency Response Relief Fund.