IAAB Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Dr. Chris Voparil

Faculty member supports students with donation to Alumni Association COVID-19 Emergency Fund

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Dr. Chris Voparil, faculty in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, was among the first donors to give to the new emergency fund established by Union’s International Alumni Association Board to assist Union students impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to $300 will be issued to students in need. Read Dr. Voparil’s reasons behind his generous contribution.

Dr. Chris VoparilQ: Thank you, Dr. Voparil, for your substantial gift in support of Union’s Alumni Association COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. Can you share what motivated you to make this generous contribution?
As we know, so many have been impacted directly and severely by the pandemic. Fortunately, I am, as yet, not one of them. I would be working from home anyway and, thankfully, have not lost my income. Imperfect as it may be, I am pleased that our government was able to pass a stimulus package to begin to address the enormous economic impact. After receiving a payment myself, I simply felt that there is no reason for it to go to me; it should help someone in need. The fund established by Union’s International Alumni Association Board is the perfect vehicle to get it to students who are being impacted.

Q: As faculty in Union’s Ph.D. program, you teach courses that bring into focus Union’s value of social justice. Did that play a role in your decision to give?
In the seminar I teach on Ethics and Social Justice, we were just reading about how in times of crisis it is natural to tighten our circle of moral concern to just ourselves and those closest to us. For understandable reasons, the first priority becomes ensuring our loved ones are safe. We see people hoarding supplies, personal protective equipment, even toilet paper! A social rather than individual approach to ethics demands that we also take active measures to extend care to strangers and people we don’t know. Even doctors and health care providers have reported that the pandemic has changed the practice of medicine from doing everything possible for the individual patient to having to conserve resources to take care of the whole community.

Q: Can you describe how your students are being impacted by the pandemic? How are the conversations changing within their studies?
It is hard to generalize, but for sure everyone is feeling the psychological strain of fear and anxiety, which reduces the intellectual bandwidth we have to devote to reading, thinking, and writing – all critical to the Ph.D. program. Amazingly, many students have been able not only to keep up with assignments but also to do some of their best work. Others have been rendered unable to study at all under the weight of emotional and financial impacts and caring for family members. At least one student likely contracted the virus but, without health insurance or savings, never sought medical attention. (The student is now OK.) Thinking about my students and all those Union students I don’t know motivated me as well.

Union’s Alumni Association COVID-19 Emergency Fund was established to support Union students in challenging financial or physical circumstances during the global coronavirus pandemic. To contribute, please give online and designate COVID-19 Emergency Fund or send a contribution to Union by mail to: Alumni Office/Union Institute & University/440 E McMillan St/ Cincinnati OH 45206. Questions? Contact Carolyn Krause at 513-487-1165 or carolyn.krause@myunion.edu

Dr. Randy Danielsen

Student COVID-19 emergency fund established

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

Union Institute & University’s International Alumni Association Board (IAAB) has allocated funds to help students who are in need of emergency funds as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Examples of emergency need include:
• being laid off or furloughed and unable to make housing payment
• unanticipated health or dental expenses
• car repair, computer repair

Dr. Randy Danielsen

Dr. Randy Danielsen

“As alumni, we are particularly sensitive to the challenges our students face during normal times, juggling school, career, family, and community obligations. The pandemic has impacted all facets of our lives and our goal is to help current Union students persist in their degree program and work toward graduation,” said Dr. Randy Danielsen, Ph.D. 2003, IAAB president. “The mission of the IAAB is to be of service to the university, to promote its interests, and to perpetuate good fellowship among students, former students, graduates, friends, faculty, and staff. The fund is just one example of fulfilling our mission.”

The student COVID-19 emergency fund provides a one-time maximum grant of $300 for impacted students. The process to apply is simple and streamlined. All degree levels are eligible to request assistance.

Union President Karen Schuster Webb is grateful to the IAAB and urges all alumni to join the effort to assist current students by making a contribution to the fund. “This is a unique and unprecedented time for the world, and for Union. We’re already hearing of how Union students and alumni are working in their communities to overcome the crisis. This fund provides a boost to help students persist, graduate, and go out into the world to make a difference.”

To donate to the student COVID-19 emergency fund, click here.

If you have comments or questions, email alumni@myunion.edu.