Saint John's Magazine Summer/Fall 2020

Page 40

TRANSFORMING LIVES

ANSWERING THE CALL Student Emergency Fund Fills a Void

The last thing Vassey Konneh ’21, a biophysics major, wanted was to have to leave campus in the middle of a busy semester. But that’s just what he and his fellow Saint John’s University students were forced to do when in-person classes on campus were canceled last March as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Suddenly, Konneh had to figure out a way to get home to New Jersey – one of the early U.S. hotspots in the spread of the virus – and resume his studies online. “Once we got the letter saying all students had to evacuate campus right away, I

38 SUMMER/FALL 2020

needed to find a flight at the last minute,” he said. “That wasn’t something I’ d budgeted or planned for.”

about was how I was going to get home. And that was thanks to everyone who donated to the Student Emergency Fund.”

Fortunately, Konneh was able to get assistance from the Student Emergency Fund to help pay for his flight home.

Konneh also found himself without an internship as a result of COVID-19. But once again, the SJU community stepped up to help.

“Without the generosity of donors, I’m not sure what I would have done,” he said. “It was so amazing to see the way the Saint John’s community rallied to help out. “The whole situation was really stressful,” he said. “There were so many questions swirling around. But the question I had to spend the least amount of time worrying

“The McCarthy Center was able to help me and many other students find amazing internship opportunities through the alumni network,” he said. “This really shows me the adaptability and generosity of the Saint John’s community.”

COPING WITH PRESSURE When Simeon Farquharson ’21 heard in-person classes had been canceled, a tidal wave of questions immediately