MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University has announced that a $17,500 grant from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation will be used for their RISE WVU program.
Created in 2019, RISE WVU, from the Office of Student Success, was made to help students in underrepresented groups by expanding their opportunities for success. This includes: success coaching, a first-year seminar course, a student-led organization, regular events and a community that creates a safe space for minority students.
“It’s important to have that safe space,” Program Coordinator Niara Campbell said. “There’s a definite need to have and foster community amongst people of color to sit, communicate, have conversations about the institution and how we experience the institution through feelings of isolation or imposter syndrome.”
The grant is a part of the ROAD Forward, an Enterprise project that has set out out to drive local impact as part of its broader commitment to promote social equity by donating to supporting organizations.
The Enterprise Holdings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings. Through its local grants program, they address equity gaps across early childhood development, youth health and wellness, and career and college preparation.
“We really want to make sure students are tapping into their resources and are not kept from obtaining an education,” Campbell said. “My program uses community development to help build self-efficacy and support racial-identity models to positively affect their student, academic and social life.”
The WVU Foundation, a nonprofit that receives and administers private donations for University, awarded the grant funding.
“Programs like RISE are important because not every student looks the same,” Mia Sebastian, a RISE WVU student participant, said. “There aren’t resources, and it stems from not having the need. As the school diversifies, the needs of the school change to help minority students feel comfortable.”