Students promote Ole Miss Family Emergency Fund

Published 1:00 pm Friday, October 16, 2015

Mister and Miss Ole Miss are currently trying to raise $30,000 to support university students who have been struck with personal tragedy.

William Kneip, 21, and Mary Elizabeth Kakales, 21, are using their platform to support the Ole Miss Family Emergency Fund. The fund was created to support students financially.

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“We are really excited to get behind it and generate excitement about the fund,” Kneip said.

The fund was originally created in 2012, but had a small amount of capital. The Ole Miss Athletics Department partnered with the initiative to match dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

Pi Kappa Alpha Gama Iota also got on board and donated $5,000 this week, which prompted organizers to adjust a previously stated goal of $20,000.

With this opportunity to endow the fund, students are coming together to raise awareness about the fundraiser. The funds can be given through the Ole Miss Ignite page, which went public a few days ago.

“This is just a tangible example of the Ole Miss family,” said Kakales.

Kakales said the money that goes to the fund is just another way that students and alumni are representing the Ole Miss family aspect of attending college. The fund is designed so students could have one less obstacle in getting their education.

Ashley Smith, 23, and Lyda Phillips, 23, are the co-directors, both graduate school students at Ole Miss and have been working with Kneip and Kakales closely as well as others to ensure the project is underway and moving forward.

“I have no doubt that we will reach our goal for this project,” Smith said.

Smith said she met a student whose house burned down in less than 30 minutes on Jan. 3.

The student was able to use the micro grant to buy school supplies, books, and new clothes because they all had burned.

“Although every story does not have a happy ending, I am just happy to know there is a way we can support our student body when no one else can because Rebels stick together,” Smith said.

The hashtag to raise awareness is #OMFamilyForever because the directors want students to know that their Ole Miss family will always be there regardless of a crisis situation.

Phillips said she is very thankful for the generous support Ole Miss has given the project, as well individuals and groups on campus.

“We just really want it to be known how thankful we are for everyone on campus for getting behind this,” Phillips said.