Supporting our Students: Carla’s story
Carla Hodal is a team lead for Student Services in the Registrar’s Office, where she works directly with students who are experiencing hardships or seeking emergency aid.
SOS is an ongoing series that highlights how COVID-19 is impacting McMaster students. This instalment is by Carla Hodal, a team lead for Student Services in the Registrar’s Office. Carla works directly with students who are experiencing hardships or seeking emergency aid.
Over the last few weeks, a lot of students have reached out to our team for help. I wish more people in our community knew how many McMaster students are living close to or below the poverty line.
Not all students have strong family support to rely on. Many students are visiting local food banks and feel embarrassed to ask for help.
I wish we could do away with the labels and stigma around reaching out. My job is to listen and understand what they’re experiencing, without judgement, and keep an open mind.
I want to provide the best support I can, in order to assist as many students as possible in the most equitable manner.
I worked with a student who was in the process of researching food banks and other community resources because their funding had run out. This student was having an increasingly difficult time covering the costs of rent, food and several medications.
Beyond financial assistance, this person also needed hope, and to know they were cared for.
Showing we care can make a huge difference to someone who’s suffering. We have received messages of gratitude from students, and these are really something special.
One student wrote that their life had become increasingly burdensome due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that our support made a huge difference to their health and overall sense of certainty.
McMaster has established a Student Emergency Relief Fund to provide financial relief to students affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The fund can assist with food, rent, utility bills, provide emergency grants and offer help to students who are caring for dependents. It can also help repatriate Mac students studying abroad. Find more information on applying for help at the Registrar’s Office website.