UNC student-led fundraiser raising thousands of dollars to help peers stuck in on-campus purgatory

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Friday, August 21, 2020
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Close to a thousand students are reaching out to a student-led fundraiser that looks to help their peers return home after in-person learning was halted for undergraduate students.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Not a lot of students were seen walking around Carolina's campus in Chapel Hill Friday. Most, making the pilgrimage home, but not all. Some simply can't afford it. They're in a holding pattern and stressed out on campus.

Many people argue the situation could have been avoided.

"We knew that it was going to be shaky. We knew that it was going to be unsafe over the summer," said Greear Webb

He's still baffled why UNC leaders would bring thousands of people back to campus while the state is struggling with COVID-19 cases.

"I am disappointed in not only the University, but the UNC System that students were put in this environment," said Webb.

On Monday, UNC announced, effective Wednesday, that it will be halting in-person learning for undergraduates and encourages students to cancel their housing contracts. Leaving some Tar Heels stuck in purgatory on campus.

RELATED: UNC-Chapel Hill pauses undergraduate classes until Wednesday to allow students to "catch their breath"

Webb is a part of a student-led effort to help those in a tough position.

The Commission on Campus Equality & Student Equity set-up a fundraiser and there's nearly $9,000 in the pot.

"We're literally putting our money where our mouths are," said Webb. "We're able to support and encourage and lift up and speak up for our peers."

ABC11 is being told that some money has already gone out to help with moving expenses or flights home and that almost 1,000 students have reached out for help.

UNC is also offering some aid. A spokesperson says with the transition to remote instruction, the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid plans to provide a $400 moving allowance for students who receive need-based financial aid and who move home.

Up to 2,500 students will receive a $200 supplement to help with internet costs during the fall 2020 semester.

If you know someone who goes to Carolina, they have to apply by Saturday, Aug. 22 to access these funds.