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7 of the Most Heart-warming Uni News Stories This Year

7 of the Most Heart-warming Uni News Stories This Year main image

The news is often full of sad stories or just general doom and gloom. But as we look back on 2018, it’s important to remember there’s still plenty of kindness going on in the world, as the following news stories demonstrate. Faith in humanity restored!

Poor student receives £100 from a kind stranger on the train

Many students struggle to make ends meet, with the cost of living frequently rising in some of the world’s most popular study destinations. In January, Leeds Beckett University graduate Ella Johannessen called her mum from the train, speaking about how upset and worried she was about her finances. When she woke up from a nap, she found that an anonymous fellow passenger had left £100 for her underneath a napkin. The money was a huge help to Ella, and prevented her from going over her overdraft limit.

Ella spoke of her shock and gratitude, telling the BBC: “I would like to tell the person that they are a fantastic human being and it has really lifted my spirits and massively helped me out." She’s reached out to thank the anonymous donor via Facebook, with her post being shared more than 28,000 times.

Cleaner gets a well-deserved break thanks to Bristol uni students

Ever thought to yourself that it’s been a while since you had a nice holiday? For University of Bristol cleaner Herman Gordon, it had been a decade. But thanks to the kindness of 230 of the university’s students, who crowdfunded to raise £1,500 in just one week, Herman and his wife Denise have been able to visit Jamaica for a well-deserved break. Herman is well known around campus for his positive energy, always smiling and fist-bumping students.

Herman broke down in tears when he found out about the trip, which came as a complete surprise, and has expressed his gratitude to the students: “God bless you all. Everybody will see this and think that I'm a trillionaire."

More than £17,000 raised for aspiring physiotherapist

In another case of an amazing crowd-funding campaign, more than £17,000 (and counting!) has so far been raised to help biomedical science student Micheal Olorode fund his studies.

Micheal, who’s currently studying at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, was featured in an article on The Guardian, in which he explained how he works 38 hours a week to fund his living costs without any maintenance loans or grants. Working from 10pm to 8am every Saturday and Sunday, he has only an hour on Mondays before his lectures begin, making him constantly sleep-deprived.

A total stranger who read the original Guardian article was impressed Micheal’s resilience and dedication and decided to help by setting up a Go Fund Me page to help lesson Micheal’s financial burden. Donations have poured in, with Go Fund Me itself donating £1,000.

Micheal was overwhelmed by people’s generosity and kindness in response to his story, telling The Guardian: “I never anticipated to receive any support regarding my story, but everyone has been so sincere, whether that be words of support, advice, encouragement or financially.

“The money will make a big difference to my life, but it’s been amazing simply to see how many people can come together and help someone, despite never asking or feeling entitled to such generosity.”

Oxford uni student whose revision notes were stolen gets help from strangers

Anne-Marie Downes, an Oxford University student who has a learning disability, lost two years’ worth of lecture notes and her laptop after her bag was stolen in April – just six weeks before her final exams. But thanks to a fellow student sharing Anne-Marie’s story on social media, dozens of students and professors at Oxford helped Anne-Marie by offering their own notes.

Anne-Marie was particularly touched by the kindness of two fellow students who helped her sort through the maze of donated notes, helping to build her confidence as exams grew near.

Tweeting to update everyone in August this year, Anne-Marie’s bag has unfortunately still not been recovered, although she thanked everyone for their support, and said she passed with a high 2:1 – congratulations!

Student helped by family of strangers after theft left her stranded

In another news story involving a student who was robbed but helped by the kindness of strangers, University of Sheffield student Emma Ormiston was left without her phone, passport and money after her belongings were stolen in Nicaragua on the border with Costa Rica. Whilst waiting with immigration officers, she got chatting to a woman and her family who were crossing the border. The family, who were originally from Slovakia but lived in Basingstoke in the UK, gave Emma a generous donation, which meant she was able to get back into Costa Rica, travel to the Consulate Office and contact the British Embassy, but, she told the Basingstoke Gazette, “more significantly gave me a sense of security for the next few days whilst I was waiting to return to Costa Rica.”

The MIT students using technology to change lives

Heading to MIT in the US, where a group of students have managed to use their skills and intelligence to create a device that can help Pauline Dowell, a blind MIT employee, sail more independently.

The students are from the Principles and Practices of Assistive Technology (PPAT) course, which draws students from engineering and science majors to partner students with clients with disabilities. The clients have reached out to the students with a problem that could be solved with assistive technology, and students spend a semester designing and creating a solution.

For Pauline, this meant creating a device with a sensor which sends information on the position of the sail via a series of beeps. Pending a few adjustments, the device should be ready for Pauline to use by the end of the semester, letting her enjoy her sailing hobby again safely after years of blindness.

For the PPAT students, helping people like Pauline has been an extremely rewarding way of applying their knowledge to real-world cases. One student, Sandy Yang, told MIT News: “The overarching goal of this class is to allow somebody to do something in a way that makes them feel powerful or useful or just have fun. I just felt like that message was important.”

Stormzy’s new Cambridge scholarships for black students

And last but not least, who could forget when British rapper Stormzy decided to use his own money to give away two full scholarships for two black students to study at the University of Cambridge (which has received criticism for its lack of diversity). Two more awards will be available in 2019, so if you’re eligible, why not give it a try?  Read more about this story here.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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I also like this one https://www.fox4now.com/news/national/2018-happy-animal-stories

Those are lovely, thanks for sharing Shirley! :)