September 17, 2021 | NEWS | By Valerie Xiong | Photo by Tamar Crump
On Friday, Sept. 10, the Colorado College Mutual Aid Fund raised around $3,500 at its first in-person fundraising event of the school year.
The arts and crafts fair took place on Yampa Field from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and featured items such as crocheted clothing, jewelry, stickers, pottery, and terrariums, all made by CC students and a Colorado Springs local. Proceeds from the event went to the first round of CC Mutual Aid applicants.
“This feels like a great way to be making my art, meeting really awesome people, and also supporting my community,” Clay Bessire ’22 said.
Bessire makes jewelry and pottery. They have been doing sales for CC Mutual Aid all year through their account, @claybyClay, and sold their jewelry at the in-person fundraiser.
Formed in the beginning months of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, CC Mutual Aid aims to meet students’ needs for necessities such as groceries, rent, travel, and emergency medical expenses by redistributing wealth. The organization is student-run.
“We identify students’ needs on campus and try to do our best to fundraise or to organize to meet them in any way we can,” said Hannah Friedman ’22, a CC Mutual Aid organizer.
The previous school year, CC Mutual Aid organized candy grams with Twit, the campus improv group, and launched a “CCMA March Madness” competition between the sports teams. CC Mutual Aid also hosted an arts and crafts fair in the spring, but like other events, it was all virtual.
“Now that we can do events like this in person and we have more people, we’re really excited to be able to do more things like this,” Friedman said, “We also hope to focus more on our non-monetary aid, which we think is a really important part of mutual aid.”
This school year, CC Mutual Aid has a giving challenge with young alumni planned for Block 2, a campus-wide scavenger hunt planned for Block 3, and another candy gram event later this year. In addition, Friedman said that about 20 new first-years are interested in becoming involved with CC Mutual Aid, so they plan to introduce more focus groups.
“Mutual aid historically is something that has been used often by low income and communities of color,” said Tova Salzinger ’22, another CC Mutual Aid student leader. “When current systems aren’t adequately meeting people’s needs, they will create a new system.”
Friedman said students make over $100,000 worth of requests each round. CC Mutual Aid was able to fundraise $150,000 last year, with the remainder carrying over into this school year. However, CC Mutual Aid still anticipates meeting under 20 percent of requested need this round.
“We just finished allocating money to the 126 applicants for our first round of redistribution, in which we redistributed $17,981,” Salzinger said. “However, we were unable to fund the remaining $75,174 of requests, so there is still immense need within the CC community.” The most common request was for groceries, with almost 100 of the 126 applicants requesting funds for this purpose.
“We would love it if we could have people tell their parents that this is a great way to donate directly to benefit the well-being of students currently enrolled at CC,” Friedman said. “We also have recurring donations [because] we think that it should be a part of everyone’s practice that if you have the capacity to donate regularly, you sign up to do so just to make sure that you’re keeping our priorities in check.”
CC Mutual Aid has redistribution rounds planned for every block this year. The application to apply for Mutual Aid opens monthly on Summit for a two-week period.
“Our next round closes on Oct. 4 and we will be redistributing funds from that on Oct. 11, so if people want their donations included in the next round they should donate before then,” Salzinger said.
To donate to CC Mutual Aid, go to crowdfund.coloradocollege.edu/project/22011, or Venmo @CCAnnualGiving with a caption specifying that the donation is for Mutual Aid. Students can also follow their Instagram and Facebook accounts @ColoradoCollegeMutualAid.
“If you say you support the community, please do, because there is significant urgency on campus,” Friedman said.