As director of the WRC, Dr. Jennifer Wells is able to use the gift to her discretion. “We’ve had some great ideas but never could say yes to them. I am so grateful because it has really allowed us to make our program even better than it was. Her gift was transformational.”
The Writing Resource Center serves students, staff and faculty, offering direct support for any type of writing at any stage in the writing process. Over half of all students use the WRC each year. Student Writing Assistants (SWAs) who go through extensive training are able to assist students with their writing projects.
Carol Holder, who became a college English professor, wanted to support her alma mater with a donor advised fund that was eligible for matching dollars. “Supporting the WRC was a great fit for me as this is what I needed as a student and what I ended up doing with my career. I am proud to give some funds in a way that will help Jennifer do her job better and have the writing center be more hospitable to the kids that are working there. It was a serendipitous connection.”
Jennifer turned to her 11 SWAs to generate ideas for Carol’s funds. Jennifer says “they have a difficult job and I wanted them to be seen and appreciated.” Just about all of their ideas have been implemented:
- Carol’s Coffee Corner, an area set up with coffee and non-coffee options for all those who stop by the WRC.
- A panel discussion of alums who were former SWAs. The alums shared with 4th year students interested in education, how they transitioned from NCF to education related employment. Funds were available to help with an honorarium and housing.
- Letterman jackets that say “Student Writing Assistant.” In the past, the students had t-shirts.
- A Peer-to-Peer Appreciation program whereby SWA’s recognize fellow colleagues who not only go above and beyond but who are doing the small things. In addition to a certificate, Jennifer now provides a small token of appreciation for their good work.
- Visitor Appreciation Week whereby students, staff and faculty who visit the center receive food and a prize.
- Two brand new comfortable chairs!
There’s more to come:
- An upcoming faculty writing retreat which will be catered by Polpo Pizza Truck. Jennifer says “it’s been my dream to be able to do this. It is so important to show faculty they are supported and valued.”
- Travel and conference fees for five SWAs to attend the International Writing Centers Association conference in Vancouver in October.
Jack Bove, a 4th year SWA, says “Carol’s gift allowed us to make some of our biggest aspirations for the Writing Center a reality. Aside from enabling quality of life improvements that make things better for the SWAs, Carol’s gift enabled us to really reach for the stars.”
Regarding the new letterman jackets, Jack now feels he belongs to a team. “There has always been a sort of unspoken bond between SWAs new and old, but now that we have specially-made SWA jackets, every time I put it on I can’t help but feel the connection to the other SWAs, the Writing Resource Center, and the mission to help others better understand and relate to the process of writing.”
Carol’s generosity continues. Just a few weeks ago, she gave another gift to create a free college application essay workshop for high school students both in person and online. Transformational indeed!