Alumni create fund for financially stressed

The Student Emergency Loan Fund, supported by alumni John Camiolo ‘86 and Karen Camiolo ‘85, aids students who find themselves in difficult financial times and may not be able to afford basic college expenses. According to Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio, John Camiolo worked at a pool club in Long Island, N.Y. and, on what should have been his last day prior to returning to Geneseo, a man wished him good luck in school. John Camiolo informed the man that he didn’t make enough money this summer and therefore couldn’t return to Geneseo. It was then that this man wrote John Camiolo a check for his tuition.

“[John] Camiolo has decided that he wants to pay it forward. When he was down in New York City at the College Foundation Board Meeting in January, he wrote a check to the college, a five-figure check, to create this Student Emergency Loan Fund for people who might be in situations like him where they just can’t come up with the money they need for books or housing or for food or something like that,” Bonfiglio said. “Not for spring break in Cancun or go on a study abroad trip, but for basic kind of needs.”

Bonfiglio said that students don’t need to show financial need in order to gain access to the money as long as they have an emergency need for fundamental things. A document is being drafted outlining what does and doesn’t constitute these unforeseen costs.

These include travel expenses home for a family emergency or personal belongings lost in a fire, flood or other event. Parking and library fines, entertainment and recreation and nonessential utilities such as cable television are some examples of things SELF won’t cover.

There is currently no limit on the amount of money a student can receive. If students have needs right now, Bonfiglio said he encourages them to contact Director of Financial Aid Archie Cureton. For amounts less than $500, Cureton will deal with the student on an individual basis. For amounts greater than $500, a committee consisting of the dean of students, director of financial aid and the director of student affairs of Student Association will make the decision as a whole.

“One thing that is interesting about this is that there is no promissory note or anything like that. It’s [John Camiolo’s] hope that people will feel the need to repay the money because of a moral imperative, not because there is any kind of contract,” Bonfiglio said.

Bonfiglio said he believes John Camiolo will continue to donate along with others. He sees SELF as being an example to other alumni who have experienced situations such as this.

“We’re tremendously pleased by the support that the [John Camiolo] family has shown for our students,” he said. “We think that this fills a need that previously was not being met at the college.”