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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M, UT partner in fundraising campaign to help students

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Photo by via today.tamu.edu

The “Maroon and Orange: Texas Tough” initiative is a student government campaign created to raise money for students impacted by Texas’ historic winter weather. 

The historic winter storm that swept across the state in mid-February left millions of Texans struggling, including students at Texas A&M and the University of Texas.
Though basic repairs and some physical needs have been met, many students at both universities are still facing unforeseen struggles, ranging from extensive home repairs to replacing lost groceries. In order to help combat this hardship, student government leaders from A&M and UT have come together through the joint fundraising campaign “Maroon and Orange: Texas Tough,” which will run through March 10. Donations can be made to A&M through Spirit of Giving and to UT through HornRaiser. With just days remaining on the campaign, the universities have raised a collective $169,831, according to the donation websites.
The campaign was created by A&M Student Body President Eric Mendoza and UT Student Government President Anagha Kikkeri during a regularly scheduled phone call to catch up with one another, get new ideas and find ways they can both help their universities.
“After the storm we did our recurring call and we were trying to get a sense of what was happening in Austin versus College Station,” Mendoza said. “We realized this was a rare piece where it impacted Texas at large, so the issues students were facing were a bit similar and joining together in this way would highlight it at a larger level.”
Students at both universities faced similar challenges, Mendoza said. Between losing power and heat, bursting pipes that damaged homes and boil notices for the water that was still running, the aftermath of the winter storm has continued to make life difficult for students across Texas.
“We could have done our own piece while [UT] did the same, but the reality is the issues were the same and doing it together brings a level of recognition and notoriety to the issue itself,” Mendoza said. “In general, our students this year have experienced so much, and it’s always important to highlight that at large. Doing that with partners does highlight that, especially since we are two flagships in Texas.”
Kikkeri told Texas A&M Today the situation has left students in great need of financial assistance, even if it is just to help with groceries.
“This has probably been the most uniquely challenging year students have faced in a long time,” Kikkeri said. “We had so much unrest, so much hurt in the country — it just permeates throughout our lives. The winter storm was another thing added into the mix, and we see a great need for students right now.”
The university that raises more money will be announced at the March 30 baseball game between the two rival schools. Mendoza said the longstanding rivalry may help to motivate people to donate, but the main goal is to provide assistance to students from both universities.
“It’s not a competition in normal terms,” said Mendoza. “We certainly recognize the rivalry aspect and want to lean into that because the reality is that serves to benefit our students.”
For A&M students seeking emergency aid funding, the Scholarships & Financial Aid Office offers a one-time opportunity for students to apply for small grants if they need extra financial aid due to emergencies, such as the winter storm. Of the money fundraised thus far, $60,183 will be going to A&M’s emergency fund, while the remainder goes to UT.
“The Scholarships & Financial Aid Office has limited institutional funding to award for emergency aid,” A&M’s financial aid website reads. “To qualify students must have exhausted all other resources (financial aid, including loans; payment plans; assistance from family/friends; other personal resources). This funding is not intended to replace or supplement existing financial aid or regular educational expenses. Emergency aid is a one-time resource.”
To apply for emergency financial aid, fill out the application here.

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