OU’s International Advisory Committee created a GoFundMe to support international students who may face particular financial challenges as a result of coronavirus-related campus and business closures.
The GoFundMe, which the organization announced on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, has a goal of $5,000 and reached nearly $1,000 in less than a day. Funds raised will be distributed to international students in need of additional support, according to the GoFundMe.
International Students have been affected by COVID-19. They cannot work outside of campus, have bills and little support networks.Donate here to this GoFundMe if you can.https://t.co/0qOm4ljyVc@oucis @OUDaily @goglobalOU— International Advisory Committee (@ou_iac) March 17, 2020
“Many students rely on employment and its income for their needs, paying their tuition or affording healthcare,” according to the GoFundMe. “Those students currently have reduced work hours and cannot afford basic necessities, and in many cases, may have to spend more money for unanticipated summer housing or travel costs.”
According to the GoFundMe, OU has 2,155 international students from 135 countries, many of which are facing border restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19.
“Based on initial survey data, we have found that multiple students are in dire need of money for everything from medication to housing to groceries,” according to the GoFundMe.
The organization also tweeted that students in need should apply to the International Student Emergency Relief Fund, which it said can offer immediate assistance.
If you're an international student in need: please apply to the International Student Emergency Relief Fund. It can offer immediate assistance.https://t.co/DgKvsd3k4L— International Advisory Committee (@ou_iac) March 17, 2020
The International Advisory Committee is an umbrella organization for all other international student organizations. It runs events including the International Bazaar, International Prom, Human Library and International Pageant, according to the GoFundMe. The organization also runs Eve of Nations, an annual event showcasing international cultures that was canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns.
OU’s Norman campus moved classes online for two weeks following spring break — online classes are set to begin March 23. The campus also closed this week after the university announced that a community member has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Many Norman businesses are also closing this week after an emergency declaration from Mayor Breea Clark required that many types of businesses close their storefronts to patrons with the exception of certain services.