Document Type

Honors Thesis




Robert Glover

Committee Members

Hao Hong, Amy Fried, William Obenauer

Graduation Year

May 2023

Publication Date

Spring 2023


Economic inequality and hardships are common issues on college campuses, for both students and employees. Mutual aid is the act of giving and receiving aid within a community where those who have extra resources may give to those who lack them, to build community care and resilience in the face of hardships. Many college campuses have established mutual aid funds to provide a safety net for those who are left behind by standard assistance programs. These funds can have several structures, so conducting research is essential before deciding on a model. The goal of this project was to design a template for the implementation of a mutual aid fund at the University of Maine.

The research included a survey with over 300 respondents that was conducted to investigate the financial hardships of members of the UMaine community, how likely they might be to use a mutual aid fund, and how we can make the fund as accessible as possible for all members of the community. A majority of survey respondents had not heard of mutual aid before taking the survey, but 66% say they would likely use a mutual aid fund on campus in times of need. Interviews were conducted with leaders from within the university community to supplement and enrich the insights gained from the data in the survey. This information was analyzed and assessed and used to design a template for a mutual aid fund that is the best fit for the University of Maine.