Raider Relief offers many resources both on and off campus for Texas Tech students who may be in need. This department offers guidance and support for students so they can stay enrolled in the university.
“[Raider Relief] was initially launched to help students in financial crisis,” Elizabeth Massengale, managing director and assistant Dean of Students at Tech, said. “Tech started looking for a way to fulfil those needs with funding that would enable students to continue their education here.”
Since its launch in 2009, Raider Relief has evolved to meet the needs of students that go beyond financial compensation. In 2019, the department officially launched its full-scale program connecting students with essential resources on campus and within the Lubbock community, Massengale said.
“We identified some areas that we felt like we wanted to make sure, as an institution, we could provide students with on and off campus aid,” Massengale said. “Sometimes students need help beyond what the university can provide, so we make sure to connect them with those community resources.”
One on campus resource Raider Relief provides is Raider Red’s Food Pantry located in Doak Hall, Room 117. The pantry provides for all currently enrolled students in need of short-term food assistance. Students are allowed to visit the pantry once per week to get what they need.
“Usually people would be able to come in and go to the storage shelves to get whatever they need, but because of [COVID-19] we’ve had to kind of change things, and we now offer prepackaged bags for students to pick up,” Allie Zimmerman, a senior animal science major from Katy and student assistant for the pantry, said.
The food pantry offers four types of prepackaged bags based on diet and preference. Items include fruit cups, peanut butter, pasta, milk, protein bars and canned vegetables.
“We noticed that, for example, international students would choose certain items more than domestic students and vice versa, so we tried to give choices that would accommodate everyone,” Zimmerman said. “We also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options.”
Raider Relief is designed to help students in situations out of their control, such as loss of housing, food insecurity, unemployment and other circumstances that would hinder their ability to remain a student at Tech.
“The pandemic or the snowstorm that just happened are great examples of events that have happened outside of people’s control that negatively impacted their ability to provide for themselves,” Massengale said. “In case of emergency, take housing for example, if a student is displaced from their off-campus housing, we may be able to get them into an on-campus option, and we also partner with community agencies.”
The department partners with resources in the Lubbock community to assist students with finding affordable childcare, low-cost housing options, medical and behavioral health services and transportation.
“We do on-site visits to the places we partner with in the community, so we can know what the students can expect and ensure that it’s a realistic and valuable referral for us to make to students,” Massengale said.
Raider Relief requires an application on their website for students who need financial assistance. Students can qualify for a maximum of $1000 during their time enrolled at Tech to help with their financial circumstances.
“There will always be students seeking financial assistance and really going through it in college, so having this fund in place provides some type of compensation and relieves the burden to some degree,” Geovanni James, a Raider Relief graduate assistant, said.
In order to qualify for financial compensation, students must be currently enrolled with the university, be in good academically and disciplinary standing and demonstrate financial need.
“It’s not a hard application, we really are trying to provide resources, but if someone applies and doesn’t meet all of the requirements, we still reach out to them anyways,” James said. “You never know what someone may be going through outside of their application.”
Overall, Raider Relief wants to provide all of the necessary requirements for students to achieve their academic goals, James said.
“It’s really just a matter of continuing to help students be successful and achieving their degree by recognizing that all of us have things that impact our lives negatively, and sometimes we need assistance in achieving our goals,” Massengale said.