This past April, as New York City entered lockdown, Bard Graduate Center’s Management Committee, including Director Susan Weber, Dean Peter Miller, Chief Operating Officer Tim Ettenheim, Chair of Academic Programs Deborah Krohn, and Chief Advancement Officer Benjamin Krevolin, anticipated the effects the pandemic might have on its students. The realization that students would not be able to access the technology provided by Bard Graduate Center’s facilities and that students would suffer financially prompted the creation of the BGC Student Emergency Fund.

A fundraising campaign was quickly put together and advertised to the Bard Graduate Center community. The community rallied and a generous group of donors including trustees, friends, staff, faculty, and students contributed over $60,000. BGC’s Chief Advancement Officer Benjamin Krevolin was not surprised by this response, saying, “This is a community about scholarship, and supporting emerging scholars. It’s important that that work can get done with as much focus as possible. So I think that the wider community including the board and friends were happy to have the opportunity to support this effort.”

A committee was created to review any requests for aid and, to date, about a third of this money has been used to help over a dozen students who faced unforeseen challenges and financial stress as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Awards ranging from $250 to $2000 have assisted in providing students with necessary technology to complete their studies, travel and living expenses, and costs of COVID testing.

Any current student facing extenuating circumstances or needing assistance is encouraged to apply either by emailing or filling out a request form. Requests will be reviewed confidentially by the committee on a weekly basis.

Mackensie Griffin is a first-year BGC MA student.