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More supports needed for RRC students impacted by COVID-19

April 21, 2020

Red River College is appealing to its donor community, alumni and partners to help provide additional funding for students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

The RRC COVID-19 Emergency Student Support Fund, launched April 9 and nearing $140,000 in donations, has received an overwhelming number of applicants and can’t meet the needs of all those who have applied.

“Since opening up this fund to our students last week, we’ve seen numerous applications come in showcasing how dire the need is to support our students through this pandemic,” says Dr. Christine Watson, the College’s interim President and CEO.

“The recent support we’ve received from the RRC Students’ Association and from our staff and donors will allow us to transfer vital funds to the deserving many who need our help.”

The Students’ Association (RRCSA) pitched in $20,000 to help fellow students struggling with financial hardships.

“Supporting our students is our highest priority and this a tangible way we can do that,” says Josh Roopchand, Students’ Association president (shown above, second from left, with other members of the RRCSA executive last November). “We are pleased to join this effort and thank all the partners for responding so quickly to students in need.”​

The donation is just one example of the RRCSA’s commitment to supporting students. A long-time partner of the College, the groups funds a number of bursaries and awards. In recent years, they also contributed $200,000 to the student-run coffee shop at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, as well as $50,000 to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute at the College’s Exchange District Campus.

The Emergency Student Support Fund is available to students who require assistance with costs such as food, housing and internet access for those who don’t have a connection, as well as other financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. The College has had to close applications for support, so the infusion of funding from the Students’ Association couldn’t have come at a better time.

In the days since RRC launched the support fund, another $10,000 was contributed by the family of Don Wittman, whose annual scholarships go to students from RRC’s Creative Communications program interested in sports journalism. An additional $4,000 came in through the MK fund, established by Frank Patterson and Joan Kunderman to support community service programs at RRC.

Along with donations from RRC staff, this critical fund continues to grow. But in order to meet the sustained demand, the College continues to rely on the generous support of donors, friends, and alumni — now more than ever.

“We know our students will directly benefit from this financial contribution as they struggle to support themselves and their loved ones during this time. Many students may have been adversely affected through job losses, and we want to do our part to ensure they can still continue to pursue their academic studies and contribute as the future workforce of Manitoba,” says Watson.

RRC is asking its donors, alumni, partners and community members to consider making a donation to help students deal with the impact of COVID-19.