SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- Students at Dordt University got the opportunity to graduate Friday a little differently than those in the past.
They held their virtual graduation Friday morning at 11 through a livestream link. Students "took the stage" virtually as their picture came across the screen.
Dr. Justin Bailey, a theology teacher, gave the commencement speech.
University officials say a box was sent to every graduate with the diploma cover, a hat and their tassel, as well as a number of things from the alumni office and others on campus to help celebrate their graduation.
To help make sure future students can complete their degree, Dordt University established the Hope Fund.
It's aim is to help students who have financial hardships due to COVID-19 remain a Dordt Defender.
Many of those stepping up, include students--giving part or all of their reimbursement for room and board back to the Hope Fund.
"I love the community that Dordt is and I think what makes up that community is all the people that are there, wherever they are from," said Dordt student Lindsey Zuidema. "I wanted to make sure that the community stays just like it is."
One of those students is Lindsey Zuidema. She's a sophomore at Dordt. She said about two or three weeks ago she received her reimbursement. Ten minutes after getting it, she donated it all to the Hope Fund.
"It was a pretty easy for me personally," said Zuidema. "I'm really fortunate to know that I can afford Dordt and that's not something I have to worry about. But, I know that college is college and it's not cheap. Especially now, I know that there are a lot of Dordt students out there trying to figure out how they are going to be able to come back next year."
And she's not alone. Dozens of Dordt students have also contributed.
Zuidema said she hopes this fund helps show just how much students and faculty care about each other.
"I just hope that it gives them, you know just like it's called, the Hope Fund, I hope it gives them a little bit of hope," said Zuidema. "I hope it relieves some of their worry in this time where a lot of things are uncertain. That if they need that support, they can get that support from the hope fund and know that they can come back next year."
Dordt University officials said a number of students who are donating are seniors. They said they want to give back to ensure that their fellow students can get a Dordt education.
University administrators said students have given more than $46,000 to the Hope Fund.
If you would like to donate, you can do that here or you can mail in your donation to:
- Advancement Office
- Dordt University
- 700 7th Street NE Sioux Center, Iowa