Recently, the West Chester community rallied together to run a holiday drive filled with necessities for West Chester University students in need. With help from Coach Bill Zwaan and the staff members from the Division of Student Affairs, the university will be collecting these donated necessities today, December 15th from 9am to 3pm at Bill’s office on 850 South New Street.
Throughout the upcoming five-week winter break, West Chester University will be providing for the 26 homeless students in need, a tradition which has been ongoing since 2014. During this break, these students will be given the options of sleeping in the university’s beds provided to them by the Office of Residence Life and Housing Services; continuous meals provided by their Aramak dining service; and a winter bus shuttle provided by their Facilities Division.
These students will also be supported by Tori Nuccio, assistant director of director of financial aid; Bill Zwaan, head football coach; and Susan Visoskas, associate director of housing and dining administration; among other members of their staff.
The university will additionally be using their Promise Program, under the direction of Tori, who acts as the single point of contact for the university’s homeless and foster students. In the Promise Program, Bill formed the aforementioned holiday drive to help these students in need. Last year, the drive was foregone: instead, Bill, his siblings, and Tori all as Santa to these students with an exciting holiday party and surprise gifts.
The Promise Program isn’t the only aspect of West Chester University’s dedication to help students. The university runs a Resource Pantry within the Office of Service Learning and Volunteer Programs and is supported by the Financial Aid Office and generous donors from the West Chester University Foundation. The pantry supplies fresh food from the university’s South Campus and Tanglewood Gardens. It also includes supplying toiletries, school supplies, and a welcoming room where students can work in a safe space with donated desktop computers.
Within the university’s Resource Pantry is another program: Operation S.N.O.W. (Students Needs Over Winter). The objective for S.N.O.W. is to have student organizations commit to collecting one item, which will then be brought to a campus event where bags of food are packed, so the they can be delivered to the university’s residence halls and kitchens during their stay over winter break.
Since the summer of 2016, the University Student Housing, a non-profit 501c3 corporation, offers housing scholarships for students who would be forced to return to homeless shelters when spring semesters end.
For more information, please contact West Chester University‘s Financial Aid Office at 610.436.2627.