April 17, 2020

UCalgary launches COVID-19 relief funds as a pandemic intervention — it’s a matter of survival

Funds are designed to support students’ urgent needs and research in the fight against the virus
COVID-19 relief funds
COVID-19 relief funds

The fallout from the pandemic continues to rip through our world, bringing millions of lives to a standstill. Precisely why UCalgary has come together to create two COVID-19 relief funds. One fund is aimed at unprecedented student needs and the other targets critical pandemic research.

Starting today, you can direct your donation specifically to one of these two urgent areas — areas we believe have the greatest need, and therefore impact, in our UCalgary community. Your support will make a difference now and in our future. Here’s why:

Bills, no summer job — a snapshot on what students are facing

In a recent UCalgary student needs assessment survey, 95 per cent of respondents said they are in financial distress. The rapid changes that have recently gripped the world have placed an unforeseen burden on many students — some of whom were already grappling with higher levels of debt, food insecurity and mental-health concerns.

Adding to this freight, many students may now be helping family members who are ill, or find themselves juggling the demands of parenting a home-bound child with their own individual studies or research. Others are struggling to find summer work in our already bruised and locked-down economy. And then we have lower income students who are especially vulnerable and international students in residence who are continents away from home and family. Many of the typical safety nets and services that help students are under strain.

“The ways in which students have been impacted are so many,” says Dr. Susan Barker, PhD, vice-provost (student experience). “In one month, they’ve had to adjust to changes in course delivery and assessment. Now, there’s nowhere for private study, internships and travel plans have been cancelled, international students are unable to return home and there’s a dearth of summer employment opportunities."

I can’t recall a time when student needs have ever been higher.


Many COVID-19 research projects are underway at the University of Calgary, racing to battle the pandemic.

Many COVID-19 research projects are underway at UCalgary, racing to battle the pandemic.

Research is critical if we are to find a long-term solution

Never before has a health crisis impacted our daily lives so significantly, rallying researchers and clinicians across campus to overcome this emergency. Within days of the March 11 declaration of the global pandemic, teams at UCalgary and the Cumming School of Medicine initiated collaborative efforts internally and on an international scale, knowing speed is equally important to solutions. Working in all areas, including clinical trials, basic science and improved service delivery, our research teams are now investigating everything from the detection of the virus to treatments for COVID 19. 

“University of Calgary researchers have mobilized quickly to help protect the health and well-being of Canadians,” says Dr. William Ghali, MD, vice-president (research). “We are working to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our communities, while learning how we can efficiently prepare for future outbreaks and public health emergencies.”

Your gift to either the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund or the COVID-19 Research Fund will have an immediate and tangible impact on lives and futures. For our community and beyond.

Double your impact

When you donate to the University of Calgary, your helping spark meaningful change on our campus and throughout our community. Your gift to UCalgary’s COVID-19 Relief Funds made by May 22, will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $2,500 per gift, per fund, while matching funds last.

Give now