Donations spur creation of three funds that impact Black WWU students

Three funds created by generous donations to the WWU Foundation will have a tremendous impact on Black Western Washington University students.

Long-time Western benefactors David and Carol Robinson made a generous gift in response to the university’s desire to create a new position – the Coordinator of the Black Student Coalition. Working in the division of Enrollment and Student Services, this professional will focus on the needs of African-American, Black and African Diaspora students.

“It is important to acknowledge that the Black Student Coalition and the Coordinator position were created through the advocacy and action of our Black students,” said Amy Westmoreland, WWU’s director of Multicultural Student Services . “Under the supervision and direction of the Director of Multicultural Student Services, the Coordinator for the Black Student Coalition is responsible for three areas of focus: supervising student staff and advising student clubs, developing and coordinating large- and small-scale programming, and outreach to our current students as well as future students. This position is pivotal in developing our community building efforts and providing support to our Black students and allies.”

A nation-wide search is currently underway and it is hoped the new position will be staffed beginning Fall 2022.

Renee Collins served the Western community for more than 30 years, retiring as the associate dean of student services. Upon her death in February 2022, friends and family established the Dr. Renee P. Collins Memorial Scholarship for Black Women. The annual scholarship will recognize academically talented Black female students entering Western as first-year or transfer students, with a desire to support those with an interest in majoring in education or a related field and who have been engaged in activities supporting inclusion and social justice.

In establishing the endowment, it was written “Dr. Collins was a dynamic leader, who had a passion for education, for herself and others. She was a strong believer in the importance of human connection and the power of kindness, empathy, and grace, particularly in the fight for social justice and inclusion. Through her work and engagement on and off campus, Dr. Collins served as a staunch and steadfast advocate in the social acculturation, retention, and academic success of thousands of students at WWU, particularly students of color.”

Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, local Bellingham Businesses such as Pure Bliss Desserts, Makeworth Market, Woods Coffee and Camber Coffee made contributions to the Western Stands for Racial Equity Fund. The fund provides recruitment and retention scholarships in honor of those who have confronted injustices for generations.

Camber established an annual award, the Camber African American Scholarship, to be awarded through the Western Admissions Office. “We knew we wanted to donate to support the Black community, and we knew we wanted to so something locally,” said Dejah Kutrovski, marketing coordinator for Camber. “I am bi-racial and was reminded of some of the scholarships I received while in college that were specifically for students of color. We wanted to do the same for the Black students in our community.”

Learn more and support these funds and others at www.wwu.edu/give

Monday, June 13, 2022 - 2:44pm