IFC supports Ole Miss campaign to help students

By Tina H. Hahn and Jonathan Scott, University of Mississippi News; additional information provided by Cole Barnhill

OXFORD, Miss. – Rebel Aid – the 48-hour grassroots social media campaign to help University of Mississippi students who have been hit hard by COVID-19-related circumstances – generated a swift and generous response from alumni, friends, student organizations and athletics leaders who gave 855 gifts totaling $176,671

The campaign was extended by 14 hours due to donor requests, wrapping up with some areas, such as the Christopher C. Holman Fund for Student Emergencies and the Ole Miss Food Bank, exceeding their campaign goals by 788% and 695%, respectively.

A campaign highlight was three student organizations giving a combined $20,500 to help fellow students.

The Interfraternity Council gave $10,000 to Rebel Aid, the College Panhellenic Council contributed another $10,000 and the National Pan-Hellenic Council provided $500. Cole Barnhill, of Union, Kentucky, the IFC president, said the fraternity members believe Rebel Aid is an important cause.

“We began work with our 15 member organizations about a week ago to brainstorm ways to help our community during this time,” Barnhill said. “While (the fraternities) focused on the Oxford community side of things, the Interfraternity Council turned our focus toward helping our Ole Miss family.

“Through numerous texts and meetings via Zoom, our executive board decided we wanted to contribute $10,000 and began looking for the best way to maximize the impact of that amount. We hope that this contribution will allow our community to continue to be able to have access to the resources and support they need. At the end of the day, that’s what the Ole Miss family does – we look out for each other.”

“The University of Mississippi Interfraternity Council was honored to have the opportunity to make a $10,000 contribution to the Rebel Aid campaign at Ole Miss,” Barnhill added. “This specific fund supports the physical and mental health services on campus, as well as the Ole Miss Food Bank, Student Crisis Fund, and the Academic Support Fund. While the council itself has chosen to support the campus community, our chapters have stepped up to the plate as well, pledging over $15,000 to benefit various aspects of the Oxford, Mississippi community. Ole Miss fraternity men continue to not only support each other but the surrounding communities that allow us to thrive in this situation that has challenged us all.”

CHP President Shelby D’Amico, of Madison, agreed.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our community felt compelled to contribute to the fight against the hardships being created by this worldwide crisis,” D’Amico said. “As the women of Panhellenic at the University of Mississippi are all being affected by this virus on varying levels, we felt it necessary to play our part in ensuring the safety and well-being of our students.

“By giving to Rebel Aid, we were not only able to contribute directly to our women, but were also able to extend a helping hand to those students outside of our community.”

Rebel Aid gifts to the Academic Support Fund will translate into more assistance for any and all students enrolled. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academic Success Program’s mission became far more complex when students had to transition to remote, online delivery, said Rebekah Reysen, assistant director of academic support programs and adjunct professor in the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience.

“When we saw the overwhelming response to Rebel Aid at the University of Mississippi, we were extremely grateful. We will be able to assist so many students who need help during this challenging time,” said Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. 

“However, when we saw our student organizations – the Interfraternity Council, College Panhellenic Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council – step up as leaders in the Rebel Aid campaign, we were proud and inspired. Part of our mission is to prepare students to be caring, compassionate members of society who find solutions to problems. Our university applauds these student leaders.”