Answering The Call

The University of Reading is extremely grateful for the generous support we have received from many within our alumni community in response to the Summer Telephone Fundraising Campaign. 

Over the last month, a team of dedicated University of Reading students have been calling alumni to ask them to contribute to the Student Support Fund. In a remarkable show of support, our alumni community went above and beyond, donating over £62,000 for students in urgent financial need. We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of this campaign.

A difficult year

Despite the myriad of challenges they have faced this year, students at the University have proven that they are resilient, resourceful, and dedicated to their education. However, for many students, the financial toll of COVID-19 has been substantial and with the future still unclear, many do not know how they will support themselves for the rest of their time at university.

Wherever possible, Reading is committed to ensuring every capable student has the opportunity to stay at university, even if their circumstances change. As part of this commitment, the Alumni and Supporter Engagement Office launched the Summer Telephone Fundraising Campaign – to provide vital funding to students impacted by the financial challenges of COVID-19.

During the campaign, students at the University made calls to alumni to talk about their time at Reading, to update them on some of the vital projects the University is working on, and to seek their support for the Student Support Fund. Calls were made to hundreds of alumni, and many of you took the time to talk with students, giving valuable advice and guidance on completing their degree and what happens after University.

One alumnus, Brian Clark, spoke with student caller, Zara, and discovered they had both enrolled on the same degree, albeit years apart. Brian said: “It was a pleasure to speak with Zara last week. We both took a combined degree course in language and social science, so we had a lot in common. 

“Zara was a fine ambassador for the student body at Reading, and I’m sure she will make the most of her time at university.”

Zara also enjoyed the opportunity to speak with alumni during the campaign. She said:

“I loved talking with everyone, it was really eye-opening and helpful to hear about the careers and lives they had after university. It has given me a new perspective.”

A long-lasting difference

Alongside the pearls of wisdom offered up by alumni, hundreds of graduates also generously contributed to the Student Support Fund – either through single donations, or by setting up a recurring monthly gift – ensuring consistent long-term support for students in need.

The University is extremely grateful for the generosity of our community during these challenging times, and we are pleased to share just how transformational the Fund has been to students in need.

Tyler said: “With the Student Support Fund I can complete my studies without the pressure of not knowing how I can afford the next day’s essentials.

“It is a relief for me to continue my studies with less financial burden, especially with all the stress of the pandemic, the travelling restrictions, and being away from my family.”

The Fund has been a vital lifeline for students whose income has been heavily impacted by industry closures or redundancies. James said:

“I lost both of the part-time jobs that were funding my final year of studies due to the pandemic. The Student Support Fund has helped me immensely. I can worry less about how to pay my rent and instead focus on my studies and completing my degree.”

The exceptional generosity and support provided by alumni also reminds students that they are part of a strong, supportive community.

International student, Ana, said: “It was a huge weight off my shoulders. The money didn’t just help me with my finances, it reminded me that there are people who really care about helping me to succeed.

“I now feel like there is hope for me. I want to say thank you to everyone who supported my dreams. You made me feel like I was not alone.”

Hope for the year to come

Thanks to the support of our alumni community, the University can continue to provide vital support to students facing unexpected financial crisis next year.

We continue to face an uncertain period ahead. Although COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted over the summer, we know that the effects of the last 18 months will continue to impact our students and their families for years to come.

The support of our community has helped us to prepare for the future, giving hope to the students returning in the autumn term. Thank you for being a part of our community, and for your generous support.

Find out more about the Student Support Fund.