A Culture of Caring: Student philanthropy takes off with the Stay Black and Gold Fund

By: UMBC Magazine Editor
Mar 3, 2017

(Stay Black and Gold with paw prints)

Diverse. Innovative. Up-and-coming. Those are just three words often used to describe UMBC’s campus and culture. Another word, one that’s no less a part of who we are, is caring. We care about our students’ success, both academically and in their home lives. With initiatives like the Stay Black and Gold Fund, an emergency fund for students whose financial need stands between them and their studies, we’re creating that culture of caring from the ground up.

Unlike many scholarship and grant programs on campus, the Stay Black and Gold fund is a student-led initiative. A committee of representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA), the Student Alumni Association (SAA), and other groups on campus, with the help of a staff advisor, will review emergency aid applications from their peers and decide how awards are allocated. While the idea has been around for years, it’s finally coming to fruition thanks to the work of dedicated students like Lillianne Keplinger.

The current sophomore and SGA Senator was inspired to take action on the fund last spring, when she was serving as Assistant Director for Leadership Development for SGA. “I’m a student who takes out loans, and I realize that not everyone is…able to,” she says. “ So it’s unfortunate for people that have to leave the institution because they can’t afford school.” The fund will assist students who experience unexpected life crises that affect their ability to pay for current tuition, fees, books, and other school-related expenses.

Along with with fellow SGA Senator Chiamaka Ugboh and SAA Vice President Ariana Nogin, Keplinger has been working with departments across campus to finalize the committee’s membership and secure an advisor. The fund is already accepting contributions from students, alumni, parents, and friends online.

Leanna Powell ’08, English, UMBC’s Assistant Director of Annual Giving, has worked closely with the students throughout the process. “We hope this will…become a way to help students understand the real impact of philanthropy on campus, and help them become leaders in giving,” she says.

Whether you’re on or off campus, by making a gift today, you can help build and sustain UMBC’s culture of caring.

— Julia Celtnieks ’13


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