11:22 AM EDT, September 12, 2011
Shepherd University’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs recently received two grants from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission totaling $9,500.
The first grant, totaling $5,000, was part of the commission’s Social Justice Initiatives Grant Program, and will enable Shepherd to enhance its social justice initiatives, which include facilitating awareness, appreciation, acceptance and advocacy among all campus constituencies. The grant will also enhance outreach programs that are already making a difference in how students, faculty and staff at the university interact with one another.
The grant funds programs such as Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Month celebration and lecture, African American History Month and Asian Heritage Celebration Month.
The project, directed by Christana J. Johnson, director of multicultural student affairs, builds on the university’s existing initiatives to foster educational awareness, appreciation and acceptance among Shepherd faculty, staff and students, as well as the community, and provides opportunities for people of different backgrounds to interact with each other in ways that promote understanding and civility.
The second grant, totaling $4,500 and written by Christopher Bryant, a graduate student in the College Student Development and Administration program, was awarded to the Multicultural Student Affairs Office as part of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) initiatives grant proposal.
The grant will allow the Multicultural Student Affairs Office to implement a Safe Zone Program for students, staff and faculty during the fall semester, establish a LGBT mentoring program and create a LGBT network for students in the fall of 2012.
The program will create a safe place to establish an online chat program, available to current students only, known as the Peer Buddy Program, where students can connect with other members of the LGBT campus community. In addition, the program will establish the Rainbow Advisor Program, which would reach out to prospective and transfer students to extend campus visit opportunities made available by the admissions office.
“We are very excited about the new services these grants will allow us to provide Shepherd students, and the opportunity to continue other services we have offered in the past,” Johnson said.
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