Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs See Increase in Donor Support – WSU Insider

According to Kari Sampson, director of development at the Division of Student Affairs, nearly $800,000 in corporate and private support has been pledged in recent months to support flagship programs that provide DEI training, student mentorship, study abroad opportunities and student recruitment and retention efforts. .

Increased donor support is helping many Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs at Washington State University expand their reach and scale.

The support is critical to the university’s mission, which prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice in its programs and strategic plan, said Ellen Taylor, vice president. /Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at WSU Pullman.

“It’s exciting that we have WSU alumni and supporters asking how we can ensure students have equity and access, and that their experience at WSU is positive and engaging,” Taylor said. “We have creative and innovative programs in student affairs that address these areas that capture the attention of donors.”

Support signature programs

Most donors are WSU graduates. Sampson said the gifts are true testaments to Coug culture helping college Cougs. Supported programs include:

  • La Bienvenida – A New Coug orientation program for Spanish-speaking students and families. A donation from Bob and Karen Felton enables the program to expand to WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Vancouver.
  • VIBES (Visionaries Inspiring Black Empowered Students), CASHE (Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education), and SHAPING (Shaping High School Asian Pacific Islanders for the Next Generation) – Student-led recruitment conferences designed to encourage high school students to attend college. university. Freebies from former WSU men’s basketball coach Ernie Kent (for VIBES) and Boeing (for all three conferences) lower the cost of attendance for attendees and improve their overall experience.
  • Student mentorship programs at Multicultural Student Services, Gender Expression/Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Resource Center and Access Center – Boeing’s donation included funds to expand student mentorship students at all Affinity Centers.
  • First Generation Program Abroad – Many of the 35 WSU students heading to Rome and Seville, Spain this month could not do so without donor-funded scholarships like Gary Schneidmiller and Chris Navan.
  • Social Justice Peer Educators – The program is able to fill its new teaching space at Waller Hall with state-of-the-art technology and provide its peer educators with professional development opportunities thanks to a donation from Laurie Johnson and Dawn Smith.

To feel seen and heard

Each donor has their own reasons for supporting DEI programs, Taylor said, but they tend to focus on the notion that everyone needs to feel seen and heard. The division’s flagship programs are somehow designed around this principle.

When Kent stopped by VIBES with a team rookie and the rookie’s mother, they were thrilled to see WSU’s vibrant black community brought to the forefront of the institution and to hear from WSU students talk about their university with great pride.

“I was surprised to see so many black students in one place, most of whom had never set foot on a college campus before,” Kent said. “And I was so impressed with the passion shown by the WSU students leading the program that I knew I wanted to do something that would enhance their role as leaders.”

Navan said his own experience as a first-generation student studying abroad motivated him to contribute to the First Gen Abroad program.

“There’s a lot of growth and camaraderie that comes from studying abroad,” he said in a March interview. “If I can give someone from a similar background who may have decided not to go abroad due to limited financial opportunities, that’s a good way for me to contribute and give that opportunity to someone in this program.”

“It’s great for our peer educators to see that people outside the university want to invest in the work they do to make this university a better place,” said Dion Crommarty, coordinator of the Office of awareness and education. “They are also investing in the future of our peer educators.”

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Strategic Initiatives Kim Holapa said donor support has an exponential impact on students because it gives staff space to think creatively and enables students to grasp the opportunities that would be more limited without him.

“Most importantly, it allows us to support students in their multi-identity spaces,” she said. “It’s not just about academics or employment, it allows us to support and welcome students across the spectrum of their identities.”

Edward K. Thompson