By Bill Studenc
Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library recently launched a new collection of popular board and role-playing games designed to help students develop stronger skills in problem-solving and teamwork through a project made possible by donations to the Fund for WCU.
With $1,500 in support from the WCU Division of Advancement’s 1889 Impact Grants Program, the library purchased 41 board games and 31 manuals for table-top role-playing games to add to its growing “gaming collection” used for in-library gaming events and for checkout by students to use outside the library.
The addition of the new games and associated library events made possible by the grant contributed to the university’s priority of providing robust and engaging student experiences, such as three well-attended board gaming nights in the library with more than 40 students participating in each event, said Chuck Thomas, dean of Hunter Library.
“Each of the gaming events was attended by diverse groups of students, which furthers the university priority of promoting diverse and inclusive activities,” Thomas said. “The gaming collection was used extensively in the library, and collectively these materials were checked out by students a total of 168 times during the fall and spring semesters for use elsewhere. By library standards, we consider this heavy usage of popular materials.”
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.
Campus partners requested more than $200,000 in 1889 Impact Grants through 16 campuswide grant applications for the 2022-2023 academic year, said Jamie T. Raynor, vice chancellor for advancement.
“We were able to allocate $43,500 overall for eight awards, a slight increase from the inaugural $40,000 in grant funding awarded last year,” Raynor said. “A ninth initiative was selected to receive funds, but the project fell through after a staffing change in the department that had been approved for the grant.”
The WCU Foundation Board Executive Committee reviews all submissions and selects the awardees in the fall of each year. In addition to the 1889 Impact Grants Program, the Fund for WCU provides scholarships to new incoming freshmen and supports ongoing donor stewardship efforts.
Learn more about how the Fund for WCU and 1889 Impact Grants provided support for this project.