Annual CASL SOAR fundraiser supports program's non-traditional students facing socioeconomic challenges

November 2, 2009

DEARBORN / Nov. 2, 2009---The current economic environment and the rising cost of textbooks are combining to make this year’s annual fundraising event for the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Student Outreach and Academic Resources (SOAR) program more important than ever.     

SOAR provides invaluable academic, financial and personal support for non-traditional students facing socioeconomic challenges, including subsidizing textbook costs.   

“With the skyrocketing price of textbooks and the struggling economy, we find our costs increasing and donations to our textbook fund dramatically decreasing,” said Ellen Judge-Gonzalez, director of the SOAR program in UM-Dearborn’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters. “Without prompt financial help, we are faced with the very real possibility of telling students that we cannot subsidize their textbooks.  And the reality is that if they cannot afford to buy books, they won’t be able to succeed in the program.”   

The program’s “SOAR International 9/50 Celebration” will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17 in the campus’s Fairlane Center South building, located off of Hubbard Drive.  Proceeds provide textbooks for first-year SOAR students and critical grants to SOAR students in need.   

The theme of this year’s fundraiser celebrates the ninth anniversary of SOAR and the 50th anniversary of the university.  Cost to attend is $25, and participants will enjoy international cuisine, desserts and entertainment reflective of the rich diversity of the campus, its students and supporters.  The campus choral group, “The Vocal Experiment,” will perform during the event, along with additional music and dance performers.  There also will be a number of tin can raffle items.     

The event is sponsored in part by a grant from the 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.  

In partnership with more than 50 local human service organizations, UM-Dearborn’s SOAR program is a tangible representation of the university’s Metropolitan Vision “to bring the knowledge resources of the university into engagement with the needs of the people of southeastern Michigan."   

SOAR provides a wide range of support for non-traditional students who wish to begin or resume their post-secondary education on a part-time basis.  Students in the SOAR program are referred to UM-Dearborn through their interactions with human service agencies and community support organizations.  SOAR students receive reduced tuition and textbook subsidies in their first year, as well as academic and personal support that continues throughout their tenure as UM-Dearborn students.    

To purchase tickets, or to sponsor a SOAR student, contact the SOAR office at 313-593-3961 or e-mail Christine Hilbush at


About University of Michigan-Dearborn
The University of Michigan-Dearborn is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout the 2009/2010 academic year. Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, UM-Dearborn has been distinguished by its commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities responsive to the needs of southeastern Michigan. The university has 8,700 students pursuing undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education, and public administration. With a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of interaction with business, government and industry in southeastern Michigan, and is committed to responding to the needs of the region in the future.


PHONE: 313-593-5542
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Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn