December 2017, News & Features

For those in need at SAU, help is available if you ask

St. Augustine’s University is like any other institution when it comes to helping their students out. From holding anti-stress circles in the quad with puppies, to having seasonal feasts for the students who can’t travel back home, to even providing business attire to students who can’t afford it, they university tries to help in any way they can.

The help even includes food, The campus’ pantry is designed to help out students who do not get enough out of the café, but also can not afford snacks due to lack of funds. Mrs. Rand, who runs the pantry, felt compelled to do it, because she wanted to make some students feel at home.

“Noot everyone is fortunate to come from good households,” she said. “Some of the students come from extremely low-income households or are even homeless, so for them this is their home.” So, when you come home wouldn’t you want to be able to have food readily available to you? So why not make it feel a little bit more like home for those in need?”

Two years ago, she decided to make those Falcons who don’t have the necessary means to feed themselves and tried to help them out best she could; she went to Lowe’s and bought two pantries and stocked it with food she purchased, and eventually she told faculty and staff what she was doing, and they helped as well, eventually overfilling those pantries, and recommending to her students who needed the pantry.

“It can be sometimes humiliating asking for things,” she said, when asked how are the typical students first reactions for asking for certain things; but she does not judge and in fact goes above and beyond to help them out, with only one thing asked in return: success. “Our motto for the pantry is: feeding those in need, so those can succeed.” However, what about for students who need more than food, such as money or payments for various bills?

Dr. Joyce Bannerman runs the Student Emergency Aid Funds, where students can get various bills, car notes, or compensations for things they can not afford, but need to be a thriving student at St. Augustine’s University.

“If we get documentation and proof about whatever it is you need to be paid off, we will help you.” Bannerman says, with a huge smile across her face, she just like Mrs. Rand, try her hardest to accommodate all students so they won’t have extra struggles on their minds, besides the typical college stressors. “school is hard enough so why add extra stress that sometimes is out of your control?” Dr. Bannerman says.

Asked why both of these programs,are not publicized, Ms. Rand said, “You know, I have no idea. Maybe because some students are ashamed of saying they got help from us.”

Dr. Bannerman had a different perspective. “Although I want to help all students, I certainly can’t accommodate everyone..this is a government funded program, so we have a set amount.” she said. “This money is exclusively for people who are need, and if the word gets out…everyone will be here demanding for some type of money, that we simply do not have.”

However way you interpret it, does not matter, what matters is that two brave and powerful women who are selflessly trying to help the school out in a better way — one can food or car payment at a time.

— Elyscia Vaughn Brown