Poor College Students Dig Deep for Love


by Lauren Hodson

A one letter typo sent in a text message left Simpson freshman Levi Michener scrambling to please both his girlfriend and his checkbook.

The miscommunication began after Michener acquired posters and compiled a care package for his girlfriend, Sara Lawson, a freshman at Business College in Salt Lake City. Michener sent Lawson a text to inform her that the package should arrive by Friday of that week.

“It will be there Friday,” the text message read.

Lawson misread the message as “I,” in reference to Michener, will be there Friday. After rereading the text and realizing the true message, Lawson’s emotions soon changed from excitement to disappointment.

This contrast of emotion ignited The Levi Fund.

“She was all sad and my friends decided, hey, we’re actually going to raise money for you to go out and visit her Friday,” Michener said.

What began as a carefree and comical idea soon developed into a concrete initiative. Friends and roommates of Michener formed a support group and brainstormed ideas of how to raise money for a plane ticket. And they were dedicated.

Freshman Jeremy Watters and Michener met through non-competitive basketball games on campus and soon became friends. When Watters heard of Michener’s predicament, he could not help but participate in raising money for his cause.

“Levi is one of the nicest people I know,” Watters said.

Michener and Watters along with their group of friends and roommates received financial donations from students on the first and second floors of Barker, and from the second floor of Kresge. Over the course of two days, The Levi Fund raised $400.

Other donations included cans from a fraternity, which were recycled for cash, and $7 for jumping someone’s car. Michener and Watters also sold their parking spots for $1 each. While on their trek to raise money, the group of students received a generous donation from a particular individual.

Simpson freshman Brittany Phillips heard of The Levi Fund through a friend and quickly became interested in his quest to visit his girlfriend.

“I finally had the opportunity to give back to someone else,” Phillips said.

Remembering famous words from her grandmother that emphasized seeking happiness for others, Phillips donated $150 to the cause.

“I have had many people help me throughout my life,” Phillips said. “I felt it was my turn to give back.”

Watters and Michener looked outside of Simpson’s campus for financial assistance. As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, Watters referred Michener to start an account, granting them both an award of $25 each. Michener then referred a friend, and in return they were both given $25. Through Wells Fargo, Michener was able to collect $100 for The Levi Fund.

Michener left campus destined for Utah on Friday, Sept. 17, and returned to campus on Sunday evening.

“I enjoyed it a lot and I was very thankful for it,” Michener said.

Both originally from Missouri, Michener and Lawson, high school sweethearts, have been dating for over a year. Family ties and a scholarship led Lawson to Utah while Michener was led to Simpson College after being recruited for wrestling. Though they are separated by distance, Michener and Lawson stay close through communication.

“The not seeing each other often part is hard, but we talk every day,” Michener said.

Michener and Lawson hope to shorten the miles of their long distance relationship by seeing each other over fall and Christmas break.