Catholic University of Malawi organises fundraising dinner for needy students

By Burnett Munthali

The Catholic University of Malawi Students welfare committee has organised a fundraising dinner to mobilise resources for fellow students who are needy which is scheduled to take place on Saturday 4 May 2024.

The committee’s representative, Winter Kazembe, who is also the resource mobiliser, says through the dinner, the event will be held at the university campus hall.

“The committee is appealing to all stakeholders, religious institutions and individuals who are capable of helping to do so by sponsoring a particular activity or buying a table at the event.

“There will be a campus awards ceremony, live music, and dances among other activities and companies or individuals can sponsor any category,” says Kazembe.

The disadvantages facing low income college students are that college is for the rich. Universities may flaunt their financial aid packages and student resources but behind all that is the inequity low-income students face. A Harvard University study found that of 38 colleges in America, including five in the Ivy League, more students came from the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom 60 percent. Colleges are not providing the resources that students need to get a good education.

Otherwise, there would be a much closer enrollment rate between the upper and lower income classes. In addition to academics, students are faced with costs that prevent them from succeeding in social settings. On top of all of that, expenses for food and housing. This lack of
equity negatively impacts students’ ability to succeed socially, physically, and academically.

College is an opportunity to branch out, engage socially, and make connections. That is, if the student can afford it. Connections at college stem from joining clubs, sports, or participating in events and activities. Extracurriculars are for the rich. Joining just one sport can rack up costs of equipment, uniforms, travel, and more. Going out with friends is also expensive, a share of the dinner bill, and the uber ride. Even joining a weekly club can be too much when a job is the priority. Because of costs, low income students are often excluded from the social aspect of the college experience.

In a study of 12,000 students from 200 plus colleges, results showed that students from low income backgrounds were less involved in extracurriculars than their higher class peers. In a separate study of first generation college students, questions were asked to learn about personal experiences of classism. Students reporting lessaccess to financial resources experienced more incidents of exclusion. Playing a sport or going out with friends may not be a graduation requirement. However, social inclusion is vital in a student’s success in college and thereafter.

Low income students struggle to have basic necessities like food and housing. Low income students find themselves skipping meals or reducing food intake altogether to save money. Some college kids rely on staying at school over breaks. It may be too expensive to go back home, or there may be no home to go back to.

However, Universities contribute to national development. This involves providing invaluable contextualised knowledge, insights and locally relevant recommendations for policy formulation and implementation; solving existential problems; creating technological products; and producing new knowledge that can be adapted for economic, political and social improvement.