UChicago students step up to help classmates in need

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Like many institutions across the country, the University of Chicago has had to make some major changes in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis that are deeply affecting students. Students are stepping up to help classmates in need with the power of social media.

UChicago student Arielle Roane created the UChicago Mutual Aid Facebook group to unite the university's community.

"It was just genuinely a few students who all wanted to do their part to help people after we saw, with our own eyes, how anxious and nervous everyone was about this whole thing," said Tricia Nicholson, one of the group's co-founders. "It's been really impressive how quickly we've been able to reach a large portion of campus and help each other out."

UChicago Mutual Aid allows for anyone to help in order to make it more community-centered instead of an organizational structure.

"A lot of people have found the UChicago Mutual Aid group extremely helpful, not just for information, but also just seeing that other students are struggling just as hard as you are," Nicholson said.

Students can fill out a confidential form describing what they need, and the group will deliver supplies. The form is available via email, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

"We have people offering to drive to the airport for people, giving free boxes and supplies, anything people need," Nicholson said. "We've had people donate entire computers for other students who don't have access to a laptop or anything for class."

The University of Chicago is known for its rigorous academics, but the pandemic has given Nicholson a new focus.

"UChicago Mutual Aid is more important to me than my finals right now. It's more important to me than my personal stuff right now," she said. "We're all human at the end of the day, and it's more important to be helping each other than focusing on your statistics final in times like this."
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