Coug-powered Community Fund helps students stay resilient through unexpected challenges 

Student success- stock photo
The CAHNRS Community Fund was created to help students overcome unexpected hurdles and stay on track for success.

Juggling college, work, finances, and life’s challenges is a real balancing act. Sometimes, students need extra help.  

Through the donor-supported Community Fund, scholars in WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences can bridge over crises and stay on track to complete their degrees. 

“If you’re not sure how you’re going to buy food for the month, everything else, including school, pales in comparison,” said Lee Tatum, an advisor for majors in the School of the Environment.  

The CAHNRS Community Fund was established in 2023 by Wendy Powers, the college’s inaugural Cashup Davis Family Endowed Dean, to address such needs. Since inception, it has helped roughly half a dozen students facing unanticipated hurdles or simply struggling to cover rent, food, and transportation costs. 

Funded by donations from the CAHNRS family of faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, Community Fund awards are managed by the Office of Student Success and Academic Programs. The process of finding qualified students relies on the close relationship between students and their academic coordinators. These advisors regularly meet students face to face, so they know when assistance is needed. 

“Even when you’re working and have financial aid or scholarships, it’s still sometimes not enough to cover tuition, room, and board,” said Shanna Hiscock, advisor in the School of Economic Sciences. “Students will walk into my office and say ‘I don’t know what to do. I can’t make it.'” 

Hiscock tells them about the Community Fund scholarship, which can help cover living expenses or unanticipated costs, such as the breakdown of a vehicle or the application fee for a needed award. The conversation can also lead to other emergency resources available for students. 

“What I like most about the Community Fund is that it’s for any student in need, not just the very top performers,” said Hiscock, who meets with more than 160 students several times a semester.  

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she added. “Even a small award can take off so much pressure, letting them focus on their classes again.  And when students get it, they’re so thankful. They’re not going to let their donors down.” 

Donations to the fund can do more during CougsGive. During the April fundraiser, Dean Powers and Senior Associate Dean Scot Hulbert have pledged to match $4,000 and $3,000 apiece for incoming gifts.  

“No amount of donation is too small,” Tatum said. “The more people that give, the more we can share this with students who really need help. It’ll take on a lot more power.” 

To support this fund, visit the CougsGive CAHNRS Dean’s Priorities website and become a CougsGive Ambassador. You can provide a gift on April 17 and help share the word to support deserving WSU students and life-changing Cougar experiences.