SEATTLE — College students around the country are dealing with several challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Seattle Colleges, where the average age of students is 28, they are often faced with even more issues.
A portion of Seattle Colleges students across their South Seattle, North Seattle and Central Seattle campuses are food insecure and utilize food pantries on campus regularly. Some are also housing insecure. The current health crisis is making these challenges even greater.
“The students that we serve in the Seattle Colleges are so focused on their education because it means so much to them,” said President Sheila Edwards Lange of Seattle Central College. “It is their opportunity to move forward and be part of the economic engine we’re experiencing in the region.”
Despite the circumstances, Seattle Colleges officials are hoping students are able to stay in school. They engage more than 44,000 students a year and prep people for many of the jobs that are essential to the community’s well-being:
- Nurses and respiratory therapists who care for the sick — and put their own lives on the line.
- Electricians who keep our power flowing and Internet on.
- Diesel-engine technicians who keep semi-trucks full of groceries on the road.
- Early childhood educators who care for the kids of our first responders.
“To not be able to get these students through these programs means the workforce that we were already desperately working hard to fill is going to be even more stripped of available talent,” said South Seattle College President Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap.
The Seattle Colleges Foundation created an Emergency Fund to help students with expenses due to COVID-19 related issues like loss of income, illness, or lack of childcare because schools and daycares have been closed.
Helping these students deal with challenges they’re facing now can ensure they can keep working toward completion of their educations.
“To lose them at this point would really be damaging to our economy in ways that would probably ripple out for quite a number of years,” Rimando-Chareunsap said.
With a campaign fund goal of $500,000, Rimando-Chareunsap and Edwards-Lange say others can help by donating directly to the fund, supporting the campus food pantries, or reaching out to any students you may know directly to help.