Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

March 08, 1925 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1925-03-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


i:l - r

4iltr t g an



VOID. XXXV. No. 117









An Outline of the Work Accomplished by the Funds Raistd on the Campus Last Year for the European St

udent Relief

Instances of Privations Suffered by Russian Students in Their Struggle for Learning
Further Relief Shown in Conditions Prevalent in Foreign Universities

Need for




"Ilk .

By George W. Davis

WIDESPREAD misery, poverty, and disease
form a large part in the Russian uni-
versity student's life, yet they are but
minor obstacles compared to the lack
of educational facilities which greets his untiring
efforts to secure an education in the Russia of today.
Professors and their families living in hovels, wear-
ing second-hand clothes, existing upon nine rubles,
or $4.50, a month, are typical of the state of the pres-
ent Russian educational system. A short time ago,
so many students were cutting morning classes in
order to use single copies of text books at the
libraries that the library schedules were changed to
afternoon and evening hours.
One teacher in a Russian university manages his
daily nourishment of meat and potatoes on 10 cents.
Moreover, he shares this slender sustenance with his
daughter, and buys the wood for cooking out of the
same 10 cents.
This pitiful aftermath of war is being combatted
by the Student Friendship fund, which has been co-
operating with the European Student Relief of the
World's Student Christian federation for four years.
During the first two years the total want of Euro-
pean students was appalling: food, clothing, and
shelter were scant to the extent that unless assis-
tance were forthcoming, bare existence was impos-
sible. Financial aid, largely supplied by schools and
universities in less afffflicted countries, have enabled
students to progress to the point where offering them
opportunity for self-help is almost sufficient.
Russian students today are in a position where
by work, made possible through capital supplied by
foreign lands, they are able to subsist, the while con-
tinuing their schooling. Remarkable results have
been accomplished by means of this financial assis-
tance, as well as the desire on the part of the stu-
dents themselves to progress.
Students of the University last year contributed
$4,000 to swell the foreign relief fund, money which
was applied to operate a student kitchen in Kiev,
Russia. At this kitchen, food was dispensed daily
to Russian students and instructors, the average
price per meal slightly overreaching five cents. The
kitchen was not operated as a bread line, but as a
measure 'to allow students to obtain the benefits of
decent food at low prices.
The Russian students, after the establishment of
the kitchen, erected a large sign above it, in Rus-
sian print, which called it "The University of Michi-
gan Kitchen". American workers among these stu-
dents declare that their gratiture to American stu-
dents is measureless, and that no other single thing
has done as much to establish international friend,
Immediately following the war, money and cloth-
ing as gifts were indispensable; today the students
have managed to forge ahead until they are able to
support themselves if the opportunity for work is
offered. In the Michigan kitchen, student help was
employed under student direction, and other stu-
dents contributed largely to the operative fund of the
Some idea of the effect occasioned by the timely
aid of the Student Friendship fund is obtainable in
the expression of a second year student at the uni-
versity in Kiev. He says: "I had a different notion
of Americans; I thought they were only dry diplo-
matists. But you gave me a right conception of
what this great people is. I hope that you will make
our American friends acquainted with the conditions
under which our scientists have to work, and that
your organization will help us to improve our lab-
This same student's father and two brothers died
in the cause of the Russian working classes. An
examination at the Kiev Student dispensary shows
that he himself is in poor health, his vitality under-
mined by impossible living conditions. At the time
of his statement, he was dressed in clothing collected
in America by the fund association. He is, American
representatives say, still energetic in working for an
education and the betterment of his race.
Professors, many of them known to the world
before the war, are likewise forced to resort to the
assistance of Student Friendship relief stations. One
kitchen, maintained particularly for professors, was
patronized heavily for five months in 1924, during
which time a record was taken. An average of well
over 200 professors purchased daily meals at this
kitchen, which was practically the one source of
their food. Out of their meagre salaries, (few of
them receive more than $20 monthly) they contribut-
ed nearly $4,000 to help operate the enterprise.
This very kitchen, Edgar MacNaughton, an Ameri-
can worker, reported was on the threshold of
abandonment for lack of funds at the close of 1924.

It had been forced to vacate its original headquar-
ters on the campus street, and was relegated to the
.,- r- - li n i, .rnnl fnn ilrh. - w 1~e



VIEWS of. th Michigan
Kitchen at Kiev, Russia, lPhich
was organized last year with
the funds collected on the canpus
during the European Student
Relief drive here. A I ie left
is a slacI, of clothing which was
donated by Michigan students
at the same time.

rendered has been through the assistance of the
American relief funds. One dispensary rendered
medical treatment to more than 60,000 students in
the course of a year, charging for treatment only
when the case demanded." In almost every instance,
the professional men in charge of relief stations
have been receiving only sufficient money to main-
tain their own health, and have consistently worked
as long as was necessary to care for cases.
Were the poverty stricken students able to obtain
essential text books, his burden would be lightened
considerably. Elizabeth Bredi, former director of.
the Student relief in Moscow, cites having seen a
geometry book, completely written in longhand,, in
use among the students there. Paper books; she
says, are torn into several parts, passed around and
The library supplies are out-of-date and inade-
quate. Medical students, Miss Bredin affirms, apply
for certain desirable books six month in advance,
and many others arrive at the libraries as early as
6 o'clock in the morning to be first on hand for
popular texts. If they find four men already there,
they go home, as only four books can be issued, and
the same four men will read them all day. The
competition has been enlivened by changes from the
lecture system to the recitation class, which re-
quires text books, and students must first think of
warm clothing before they can turn to text books.
For almost three years, thousands of students in
Moscow and Petrograd have been able to continue
their studies because of meals supplied by the Stu-
dent Friendship fund. This year the students are
trying to meet the food problem in their co-opera-
tive dining rooms. Following the policy of helping
the students to help themselves, the American kit-
chens were withdrawn in the two northern cities,
and attention turned to the new text book famine.
Into all text books purchased with American funds is
inserted the name of the organization donating the
book, together with a sentence expressing the friend-
ship of the giver.
Even book shops and printing offices, where the
students are enabled to produce their own needed
books, are supplied by means of the Student Friend-
ship fund. Other self-help enterprises sponsored
by the organization are dormitories, feeding kitchens,
co-operative stores, and all kinds of repair shops
such as shoe, tailoring, and barber shops.
This is the chief aim of the directors of the fund:
to use money to afford the student opportunity for
employment, rather than donate the money as simple
charity. Russian students have expressed their
gratitude at being permitted to work their wa
through school without the necessity of being objects
of charity, he is not only able to earn money, but the
necessities of life are provided at a price cheaper
than the retail price in his district.
Relief in all cases has been administered im-
partially, without regard to race, nationality, creed,
political affiliation, or any other criterion than
proven need. It is attempted to confine help to de-
serving and ambitious students; only those who are
working to aid themselves are assisted.
To make sure that every possible benefit is ex-
tracted from the relief funds, overhead expenditures
are decreased to a minimum. Wherever possible, aii
is administered through indigenous student com-
mittees in order to increase self-help opportunity
and to encourage the students to assume greater
Last year in the United States, 590 schools and
colleges contributed to the fund, and the Student
Friendship fund forwarded $427,012 for students and
professors in Russia, Central Europe, the Near East,
a portion being reserved for foreign students in the
United States. Of this sum, more than $150,000 came
from American students themselves, the remainder
being contributed by individuals or committees who
recognized the great activities made possible by such
an organization.
Campaigns are in progress on dozens of other
campuses in the United States to equal, if not sur-
pass, the total amount subscribed for the purpose
last year.
Speaking for Vassar college, President Henry N.
MacCracken declares that "the story of the Euro-
pean relief, whose activities are almost wholly in the
hands of young American or British students, is an
outstanding instance in the higher idealism of the
students of today. It would have been unthinkable a
generation ago. If the national public opinion in
each country represented were only identical with
the student workers in this humanitarian enterprise,
the world would be a better place." President Mac-
Cracken recently spent a year in Europe, where ht

had every facility for seeing the European Student
relief at work.
Michigan's quota for the Student Friendship drive,
which will start on the campus here Tuesday, has
been set at the same amount that was subscribed last
year-$4,000. A committee, composed of outstanding

ing even pittances for their sustenance, are giving
way to the former reign of hunger and dispair. Mac-
Naughton also reports the case of one professor who
received $15 for his month's work, and immediately
settled outstanding debts with $10 of the amount.
The remaining $5 he intended to use for reprovision-
ing his larder. At 3 o'clock on the day he received
his salary, neither he nor his family had eaten a
scrap, and the small remaining sum would not per-
mit them to take a meal at the kitchen
Of the 150 remaining patrons of the kitchen, one
half of the portions handed out are carried to homes
in lunchboxes, where two or three others may share
the one substantial meal of the day. One professor
in Odessa said: "Without the meals in the kitchen, I
and my family would perish."
Yet these famished people can find the strength
to push their scientific work. Original research is
continued despite the paucity of equipment, scarcity
of fuel and heating, and inadequate salaries. One
American worker mentions a visit to a professor's
study, where he found stoves improvised of brick and
mud, constructed by the instructor and his grat-
uate students to carry on their work.
Clothing in almost any condition has proved :
boon to those subjected to these conditions. An
extract from a personal letter of Edgar MacNaugh-
ten reads: "If the 'effectual prayer of a righteous
man availeth much', Stella and I ought to be blessed
in our lives. Every night a grandmother who holds
together a family of artists and grandchildren re-
members us before God.
"But we both are not deserving the prayers of
this able woman or of many others-we happen to bo
the ones who represent the many friends in America
who have touched the hearts of those people through
gifts in one form or another. We wish that some of
the people who collected the clothing could have
shared in the joy of giving it out to those who re,
cently came to our office. An advance shipient of
clothing and shoes-a token of what is l rtly b
come in large quantities-arrived in Septkemhr und
we discovered that for the most part it was to
women and children.
"The situntinn of the nr oY-ors n! lthir famlilies

Hearts were lightened as these wonen who have
carried heavy burdens found a dress for the daught-
er, an overcoat for herself, a shirt or underwear, or
even better, a pair of shoes, for her husband.
"It is hard for Americans to picture the wives of
eminent professors who are ranked in the third and
fourth categories could .revel in a stock room where
second hand clothing was being distributed!"
Two dollars in wages for 30 to 40 hours' work a
week describes the state of one fourth-year Russian
medical student. To earn this $2, this student tutors,
gives massages, and engages in other such work, all
of which requires that he miss lectures. At last
reports, early symptoms of tuberculosis had develop-
ed as a result of his underfed constitution. He wears
no socks, a thin suit, and his overcoat is stuffed
with cotton to add in warmth!
One dollar a week is spent by this student for
food. His other expenses, such as rent and heat,
reach the total of $5 weekly. His two sisters, both
of whom are students also occupy a single room.
Their morning meal consists of breal alone, while
supper is composed of cereal or boiled potatoes.
When the pitiful fight of this man -was discovered,
he was permitted to eat in the reli'f Lhtchen. He is
re'cgnized in his vicinity as the best-qualified a -
s inant in analyzing, and his one goal is to enter
sciinitic research.
Women students are no less; ambitious, although
they are subject to the same circumstances that af-
fIxt the men. One womatn, who cares completely for

time to the local clinic for the sake of practice. At
last, because of an increase in the budget for the
student relief kitchen in her district, she has been
able to secure a meal card.
"On the street just a moment ago, as I was com-
pleting my evening walk," says MacNaughten in a
letter, "I met one of our staff of the Student dis-
pensary, and he smiled all over as he said 'I am a
real American now'. He had been a recipient of a
suit and overcoat from our recent clothing shipment.
I expect to see many more such as this young man,
who have received an outfit which for most students
and professors is entirely beyond their means.
"In our conversation he told of a number of stu-
dents who live in the dormitory opposite the dis-
pensary. They, too, had been in the office yesterday
and, upon returning to their rooms, he said 'They
jumped for joy over these gifts'.
"Several students appeared at the office this
morning," MacNaughton continues, "to get the ad-
dress of an old professor who received a load of
wood yesterday. Since he is unable to cut wood, I
had offered to see that some one did it for him. This
student and his three roommates earn their way in
college by cutting wood, and they all wanted to do
a good turn for somebody as their hearts were seek-
ing a way to express their gratitude. Not satisfied
with one address, the student suggested two places
himself, one where lives a blind professor, once
brilliant, and still vigorous, in mind. That's honest
.". . One professor friend greeted us as usual
with a cheery word. His suit badly frayed, and his
shirt minus a collar and tie, gave evidence of poverty.
But if we could have stayed, we would have sipped
tea as though all the world were aglow with sun-
shine. We paused but a moment to leave a little
money. It may have been more than he received all
Two of the children in the last family described
are aflictel with tuberculosis, and a third child is
not normal. The father is without definite income, al-
thogh before the war he was known by name
throughout Russia.
The :spread of illness, especially of tuberculosis.

Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan