FORT WORTH (SWBTS) - The Student Emergency Assistance Fund at The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary provides support for students adversely affected by crises or emergencies. The fund existed before the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the current crisis, SWBTS administrators and the Office of Institutional Advancement placed particular emphasis on the needs of students adversely affected.
"At Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College, students are the most important constituency of our institution," says President Adam W. Greenway. "It is my firm commitment that our institution will do everything in our power to assist students who have been adversely affected by COVID-19. I urge all Southwesterners to contribute generously to SEAF."
Kevin Caffey, associate vice president for enrollment management, notes that the circumstances of the pandemic are "continually evolving." Nevertheless, "Students' health, safety and well-being remain a top priority as we respond to these unprecedented circumstances. Understanding that many have been affected by the current crisis, SWBTS administrative leaders, in partnership with the Office of Institutional Advancement, have worked with our network of donors and churches to obtain funding to assist students during this trying time."
Caffey explains that the SEAF provides financial assistance for housing costs, medical bills, educational costs, groceries and other emergency needs. The support will enable students who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 to keep utilities on, rent paid, and provide necessities.
"Our Southwesterners remain resolute in their calling, and many are doing ministry even in these difficult times," says Terri Stovall, dean of women. "But they need to know that we are still here for them. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund is a way for those of us who have enough to give to those who have sacrificed much to answer God's call of ministry in a time of want."
"I have seen the fund provide food to get our single dorm girls through to the next week," Stovall says. "I have seen others exhale a sigh of relief that they have the needs of today."
Students in need of such assistance may apply by completing the Student Emergency Assistance Fund Request Form.
Caffey says, "We are here to serve and will work to connect and assist students in the ways we can."
Travis Trawick, vice president for Institutional Advancement, says the SEAF is one of three funds to which donors may contribute during the pandemic. The funds ensure that students have what they need and that they continue to receive "the highest quality seminary education." Besides SEAF, the Southwestern Fund provides support for the overall mission of Southwestern. It funds "strategic investments that improve and enhance the student experience." The support includes campus technology, the Campus Medical Clinic, the Campus Police Department and other student services. Also, the General Scholarship Fund alleviates students' financial burden while attending seminary or college and minimizes student debt.
"Contributions to these funds address the most pressing student needs. They ultimately make it possible for us to continue our mission of educating God-called men and women who are engaging in Christian ministry," Trawick says.
Borrowing the analogy pastor Andrew Fuller used to describe his support of missionary William Carey as "holding the rope," Stovall says, "We need more hands on the rope, encouraging today's students, many in the throes of ministry themselves, who may be lonely and discouraged. We need more hands on the rope, investing in the women and men who are standing strong with unwavering faith during uncertain and difficult times.
"And the Student Emergency Assistance Fund is a tangible way to tell a student, 'God's got you,' by providing the means to eat and be strengthened."
To request funds or to donate funds to SEAF, go to https://swbts.edu/give/student-support/covid-19-student-emergency-assistance-fund/.