A helping hand: Day of Giving funds bolster student’s experience, opportunity
By Jeff Wilson
Every donation made during the SIU Day of Giving benefits students.
That means funding scholarships, improving facilities, enhancing programs, supporting a cause, etc. Of course, some donations can have an even more direct impact.
That’s what Diamoneek Green, a student ambassador for the Department of Political Science, found out when she earned the 2020 Barbara Brown Internship from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.
For a political science major with a pre-law specialty, the chance to work with state legislators in the General Assembly was perfect.
“I’m interning with the Illinois Municipal League,” Green said. “It’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents Illinois municipalities on a state and federal level. Its work positively impacts the entire state of Illinois and other local governments nationwide.”
Of course, moving from Carbondale to Springfield posed a significant financial challenge. Green was locked into a rental agreement with a local apartment complex but also needed a place to live in Springfield. Having two rent bills to pay would be difficult for anyone, especially a student working an internship.
While living and studying in Carbondale, she worked multiple jobs and found time to volunteer.
“Even with plans to work while doing the internship, it was going to be nearly impossible to make ends meet. I always prided myself on being financially independent,” she said. “I’ve always been ambitious. I didn’t want to go into debt.”
That’s when Green reached out for help. She wrote a heartfelt letter to Todd Bryson, director of the Student Multicultural Resource Centers, and Dr. Linda Baker, a professor at the Simon Institute.
“They were so helpful,” she said. “Todd kept telling me to be patient. He wanted me to focus on this opportunity and not stress about the money.”
It wasn’t long after that Green received a call from Bryson and Dr. Baker informing her that she would receive $1,000 from the Black Resource Center Emergency Tuition Fund. The money in that fund was donated during the 2019 SIU Day of Giving.
“I feel so proud to be part of something that’s bigger than me,” she said. “I can’t wait to give back to students like myself. SIU has been like a second family to me. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll go to a school where people will do everything they can to make sure you succeed. I want to make them proud.”
Drawn to SIU
Raised in Kentucky, Green’s family moved to Cairo, Illinois, before her senior year of high school. At first, she had plans of returning to Kentucky for college.
“My guidance counselor, Zachary Nelson, shared her experience at SIU,” Green said. “Jeff McGoy (director of SIU’s Exploratory Student Advisement) came to our high school. He’s so charismatic, and I looked up to him. I felt like I had to see what SIU was like firsthand. I visited campus and immediately fell in love. Everyone at SIU made me feel good about the transition.
“I’ve had a really good experience. Every one of my concerns was met with solutions. My time as SIU has taught me many lessons, both academic and about life in general. Some of those were tough lessons, but there’s been a recurring positive lesson as well: SIU takes care of those in need.”
If you would like to help students like Diamoneek Green, visit https://siuf.org/giving/college-unit/diversity.php.