Tisch sophomore crowdfunds tuition
Feb 4, 2015
To help Tisch sophomore Jeremy Harris pay his spring semester tuition, Steinhardt sophomore Ursula Seymour, CAS junior Erica Gonzales and Steinhardt junior Devin McNulty started a successful fundraiser on the crowd-funding website ‘Go-Fund-Me’.
The quartet crossed its initial goal of $7,864, which was required by Jeremy to pay for his tuition, to raise $11,055 in just nine days. This overwhelming response was completely unanticipated.
“At the start we weren’t really expecting to reach the full $7,684,” Seymour said. “I thought maybe we could get close to it and beg NYU for the rest. Then, we were absolutely in shock when we reached the full amount and people kept donating. We didn’t know how to stop it, really.”
Initially having given up all hope, Harris was prepared to head home to Minnesota. His hope returned, however, when members of his A cappella group, The Mixtapes, were the first ones to donate on the crowd-funding site.
“Most notably my fellow Mixtape, Jerry Wilson, donated a slightly larger amount than another Mixtape, Tom Dziuba, with a caption that said, ‘Get at me, Dziuba!’” Harris said. “I honestly didn’t get my hopes up until the crowdfunding reached around $3,000. Then I realized that our goal was achievable.”
The campaign took off and attained success when the fundraising page was posted on the Facebook page NYU Secrets. Among the top contributors were Roy Rosenberg, the father of one of The Mixtapes’ members, and Cole Snyder, a benevolent stranger, donating $800 and $2,930 respectively.
“Once we got the campaign posted on NYU Secrets, though, money was rolling in by the hundreds or thousands every hour,” Seymour said. “The donors were so generous. A lot of friends and parents donated, and a lot of the funds came from kind strangers.”
Because the NYU administration was unable to fully cover Harris’s need for additional aid, Harris turned to the website as another solution. However, Harris still recommends fellow students in debt to persevere and work with the administration to look for more alternatives in their financial situation.
The NYU Office of Financial Aid could not be reached for comment.
In the end, Harris’s determination to remain at NYU was attributed to his wish to continue pursuing the acting in Tisch, a community in which he found comfort.
“I love, love, love acting. It’s the only thing I’m really good at,” Harris said. “But the reason I am so determined to stay at NYU is because of the communities I have found. I have made so many beautiful connections over my brief stay at NYU and I’m not ready to give that up.”
A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 5 print edition. Email Dhriti Tandon at [email protected]