Brooklyn College gears up to participate in its fifth Giving Tuesday campaign.

The global pandemic and all of its ensuing complications were enough for Sterline Jean ’20, a mother of two, a hospital administrator, and last spring, a Business Administration major who didn’t have the money to pay the tuition for her final semester at Brooklyn College.

It was a familiar position for her to be in, working her way through school, stringing the funds together, and taking care of her family. She was accustomed to calling officials in the Bursar’s Office to ask about available grant opportunities and requesting a payment extension so that a hold would not be put on her account. But with everything going on last spring, she simply didn’t have the time or the energy.

“I was going to hang it up,” she says. “I have a lot to worry about. I didn’t have the benefit of working from home, and I had to deal with my kids. If I didn’t get any help, it would have been the last nail in the coffin.”

But her dogged calls to the Bursar’s Office paid off when she heard about a completion grant that helps students finish their degree. Jean got roughly $2,000, to help cover expenses, a small portion of the $280,000 in such funding the college doled out last semester for students in similar circumstances. For her, it made all the difference.

On Tuesday December 1, Brooklyn College will participate in its fifth annual Giving Tuesday campaign, a global day of giving during which the college hopes to raise more money for important college funds that help students like Jean.

In what was a record for a single day, last year the college raised $108,000 from 447 donors, an increase of 77 percent from the previous year. All 25 CUNY campuses participate in Giving Tuesday, which happens each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday. At Brooklyn College, the money raised supports the Annual Fund, a vital Brooklyn College Foundation program that is sustained by thousands of donations averaging about $50. Support from the Annual Fund helps the college respond to the urgent and evolving needs of the students, faculty, and campus.

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Jean says she plans to give back to Brooklyn College when she can, grateful for the assist that helped her complete her degree and move closer to a career in which she would like to work in higher levels of hospital administration or public-health policy.

“I want to make sure that quality healthcare is equally distributed,” she says. “I want to spend my life advocating for other people.”