The Office of Intercultural Affairs held a trio of activities during the 2021-2022 academic year designed to support an array of Western Carolina University students, including first-year, transfer and traditionally underrepresented students.
The three programs were designed to help students achieve enhanced college success and academic excellence, in keeping with WCU’s emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion.
ICA recognized students who supported diverse student organizations as part of a leadership dinner, sponsored a parents’ group care package drive during finals week and held an alumni speaker series connecting past and current participants in WCU’s Project CARE.
The initiatives were among several campus projects made possible by donors to the Fund for WCU. ICA and Project CARE received a total of $6,000 in funding from the WCU Division of Advancement’s 1889 Impact Grants Program.
More than 40 student leaders attended the grant-supported Martin Luther King Jr. Student Leadership Dinner, and six student leaders received awards for their contributions to the Catamount community, said Dana Patterson, the ICA director who applied for the 1889 Impact Grants and who is stepping down in September to take a leadership role at another institution.
“This funding also helped our Project CARE parent caucus group provide care packages to students in the program during finals week. More than 40 care packages were distributed to very appreciative students in Project CARE,” Patterson said.
“The alumni speaker series welcomed back past participants of Project CARE to discuss success strategies with current participants. Thanks to the grant we received, our alumni speaker series provided insights into a clear path to success for many of our students who have not had personal examples of academic success in their lives,” she said.
Project CARE is a 31-year-old peer mentoring community that has traditionally helped underrepresented and underserved students successfully transition to WCU. Project CARE has expanded its mission to include all WCU first-year and transfer students who identify a need for assistance in making a successful transition.
Launched in 2021, the 1889 Impact Grants program is designed to provide a consistent source of funding for colleges and other units at WCU in support of initiatives that enhance the engagement of alumni and community stakeholders with the philanthropic activities of the university.
Funding for the program comes from annual contributions to the Fund for WCU, including leadership gifts from members of the 1889 Club, which recognizes donors for gifts made on an annual basis to the Fund for WCU. The club, among four giving societies established by the Division of Advancement to celebrate the impact of philanthropy on the institution, is named in honor of the year of WCU’s founding.
Eleven projects were selected to receive a total of $40,000 in grant funding during the program’s inaugural year.
Learn more about how the Fund for WCU and 1889 Impact Grants provided support for this project: