The University of Northern Colorado needs community help to support and give back to its students, so this season of giving isn’t the bare minimum.
The Bearnanza Scholarships, the university’s annual week-long online fundraising drive, begins November 30 on Giving Tuesday and ends on December 7, also known as Colorado Gives Day.
The fundraising event for charity consists of five areas that people are encouraged to support this year, according to Kelsey Crane, UNC’s Assistant Director of Annual Giving. The following scholarship funds and programs accept donations:
- United Nations University Scholarship Fund – Supports general scholarships. Every donation made to the United Nations University Scholarship Fund will be matched dollar for dollar by the Scholarship Opportunities Initiative in Colorado.
- First Generation Scholarships – Supports scholarships for first generation students, which make up 40% of UNU students.
- Disaster Relief Fund – Supports students who have faced an emergency situation, whether the situation is related to COVID-19 or a car accident.
- Blue and Gold Sports Fund – supports scholarships for student-athletes.
- Bear Pantry – supports students facing food insecurity.
“I think it’s a great way for the community to come together and support our students in so many different ways, whether they want to support scholarships or they want to support them through programs like Bear Pantry,” said Crane. “Our goal is just to engage our bear community in giving back to the university during the season of giving.”
Jane D’Souza, dean of student specialist at the University of North Carolina, made an email statement explaining the role the Bear Pantry plays in student lives. She said Bear Pantry is open to all students, and they are allowed to shop once a week and eat up to 10 items per visit.
The graduate assistant who runs the program stocks the pantry by shopping weekly for a variety of food and personal care items, which is why the program relies on funds or donations.
“We know that food insecurity is a huge problem for many students and we want to remove that barrier,” DeSousa said in an email. “We rely heavily on donations of food, personal care items and money in order to keep our shelves full. We also rely heavily on our amazing student volunteers, who we rely on to keep the store open for students.”
In October, Bear Pantry served nearly 3,000 items and served 197 students in 341 visits, according to DeSousa. The program has made a difference every day in the lives of students facing food insecurity in college, including entry-level music teacher Nina Yee.
Yi has dreamed of going to college since she was a child, but she knew her parents wouldn’t help her achieve her dream, according to student Bear Pantry testimonial. At the age of eleven, she started working on turning her dream into a reality.
Money had been an obstacle for Yee her whole life, but Bear Pantry provided her comfort knowing that she wouldn’t starve while her dream came true.
“Bear Pantry has been a saving grace for me in school,” Yi said in the student testimonial. “Every year, money has been a challenge and knowing I have a free source of food every week puts me at ease, as there have been times of hunger.”
To donate to the Bear Pantry or any of the four scholarship funds, go to bearfunded.unco.edu.
“The Bernanza Scholarships is really just a week to celebrate the philanthropy and the impact it has on our students,” said Crane.