Mellon grant endorses service ideas

Waynesburg University’s motto has long been established as “faith, learning and service.” The last of those three core values is the focal point of a grant from the Richard K Mellon foundation that was given to the university two years ago.

Service is the main idea of the grant, and it has allowed Waynesburg students and facility to serve in different areas. One arena for that funding, Assistant Dean of Student Services Kelley Hardie said, is to accommodate many grants sponsored through the center through service leadership office to facility, staff and students.

The five areas that are eligible for these grants are children and youth, food insecurity, historical preservation, senior care and environmental stewardship.

The amount of money applied for varies from as low as $500 to the maximum amount of $5,000. The grants will be issued this semester, and will need to be completed before the end of this academic year.

Last year, the university received 18 grants, and of those 18, 16 met the criteria and were awarded. For Hardie, this year has been much smoother because people are already familiar with how everything operates.

“This year [everything is] going well, because people are already familiar with the process,” she said. “They’ve already applied for it last year. So they’ve had a year to really think about [what they would do next year]… I think the first year to any process is more the educational year. So this year, the foundation is in place. People are more familiar with the idea and the concept.”

Some of the grants that received the maximum of $5000 last year were for the education department. Dr. Julie Bausman, associate professor of education, applied for $5,000 for the education department to acquire iPads for students to take to off-site tutoring locations. Another such grant was applied for and received by a student, Nicolas Burgess, senior nursing major. Then a junior, Burgess applied for a grant to start a project for camera supplies necessary to launch free photography classes off-campus for children and adults.

Some grants require less of a commitment. Patience Yobp, a senior criminal justice major, applied for a $500 grant to work with child identification kits as a junior. Yobp worked with a local school to pick up these kits that would be used for parents to help find children who are lost. She supplied 700 identification kits, Hardie said.

“It just really depends upon the quantity and quality of the grants that we receive,” Hardie said.

Grant applications are available until Nov. 4. Notifications will be sent Nov. 13, and projects must be underway by early January.  

“I would just encourage faculty, staff and students to apply for one of these grants,” Hardie said. “They’re great opportunities that can help our community here in Greene County.”

Michele Keith, who graduated from Waynesburg this past May and is now a graduate assistant in Student Services, received a $1,000 grant, with the focus of her project being to provide toiletries for the five school districts in Greene County. Keith advises anybody considering applying for a grant to pursue it.

“It’s a really great experience writing a grant and seeing a project through, and secondly you’re doing really good things for the community here,” Kieth said.