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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

The Gift of Community

The pandemic changed the ways in which we engage with — and rely on — our friends, family and community.

For students on campus, the impact of COVID-19 was felt directly March 11, when they were asked to leave University of Dayton housing in line with safety guidelines from state and local authorities. Khristian Santiago ’16 heard this news and immediately thought of the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center community he was part of during his years on campus.

“I’m from Puerto Rico, and something as simple as getting home was a big conversation every time for me and my parents. On a good trip it would take me eight hours to get back to San Juan,” said Santiago. “So, I could relate to how stressful it would be for MEC students to find a last-minute flight, knowing what the travel industry is going through and that students from all universities are trying to get home.”

Associate Dean of Students and Executive Director of MEC Daria Graham was able to directly utilize Santiago’s gift to help a student with the expenses to reschedule a flight.

“The immediate need of our students was to be safe and healthy with their loved ones,” said Graham. For this student, a small gift made a big impact.

“I didn’t give a huge amount, which I think is important for alumni to remember, but I know to give something helps someone be safe in a time of uncertainty,” Santiago said. “For me, it feels like a hit to my wallet, but for that student it can mean a make or break.”

In the midst of a crisis, Santiago found not only a chance to respond but a chance to build community when it is needed most.

“I know a lot of us were really looking forward to a great March and April with the men’s and women’s basketball teams,” Santiago said. “But this is a time we need to get creative with how we show the importance of community in supporting each other and the students.”


Learn more about ways you can support students and the UD community during a crisis.

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