The purpose of the Anthropology Mutual Aid Fund is to provide graduate students in our department with financial support for a variety of purposes. The current graduate stipend in the department is often not sufficient for covering basic needs, especially when unexpected emergencies arise. This problem is even worse for students of color, international students, students with dependents, and students from working class backgrounds. The personal well-being of students directly impacts their ability to succeed. This fund is meant to relieve some of the stress that comes from financial insecurity in the hopes that it improves the student experience in the WSU Anthropology Department. Requests can be made for purposes such as groceries, medical bills, immigration fees, etc. Requests can be made for amount between $5-$100.
How Does It Work?
A small pool of money is maintained to be distributed on a primarily first come, first serve basis. However, emergency requests that need to be filled within a week will be prioritized. Additionally, throughout the year different types of applications may be prioritized. For example, international students who were unable to obtain on-campus employment for the summer and are prohibited from working off-campus are prioritized during summer.
For requests that exceed the current balance of the fund, wait times may be required while donations are gathered to meet the need, otherwise funds will be distributed as quickly as possible. The goal is to fund all requests, but please be patient if extra time is required for fundraising and make your requests as far in advance as possible. All requests are managed and approved by DISC and no one member is in charge of the distribution of funds. Any current WSU Anthropology graduate student is eligible to request funds and your requests will be anonymized by the DISC chair before circulation to the full committee.
Monthly reports of fund disbursements and the current balance of the fund will be publicly available to maintain transparency. Names of recipients will not be published but a short description of the purpose of the request will be (i.e. conference travel, textbook purchase, medical emergency etc.) to highlight the types of requests made to the fund.
What is Mutual Aid?
Mutual aid is a process of organizing in order to meet the basic needs of community members, with the recognition the current system does not adequately meet those needs. It is a concrete action that can make an immediate difference in others lives, instead of waiting for broken systems to make slow incremental changes. Mutual aid projects take responsibility for the collective well-being by taking care of others and meeting those needs ourselves. This mutual aid fund is designed to meet the needs of the anthropology graduate student community at WSU, especially those of international students and BIPOC who face additional challenges in academia.