The past year at Washington State University Tri-Cities has been a great one, not only because it has been my first year as chancellor, but because it has been wonderful getting to know so many incredible WSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, in addition to our incredible community members.
It is an honor to serve this WSU community in my capacity in the Tri-Cities and we have a variety of exciting things coming this year that are meant to heighten the student experience, our academic programming and overall, provide our community with better connections to higher education opportunities. I’m elated for what the future has in store.
This past year, we welcomed the completion of an apartment complex on campus. This was made possible with Corporate Pointe Developers, which partnered with us to build the complex at no cost to the university. A variety of students live at the complex now, which feature one- through four-bedroom units. These apartments present an ideal option for most students, from new freshman, to military veterans, to transfer students.
This complex also provides our out-of-state students with a more direct connection to housing that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of searching. Numerous studies show that students who live on campus perform better. We have definitely seen this to be the case.
We began our student hardship fund this past year, which has served several students in times of severe need to help with rent, bills, emergency childcare expenses and especially when unforeseen crises arise. This fund helps provide our students with an outlet for when they feel there is nowhere to turn financially. With these support funds, students are better able to stay on track in their schooling, and in turn, achieve a better life for themselves and their families.
You may have seen the #CougsGive campaign pop up around social media on April 10, which raised dollars for the fund. If you would still like to give to that fund, visit foundation.wsu.edu/give, select “Campuses,” “WSU Tri-Cities” and “Student Emergency Hardship Fund.”
We are in the process of designing a new academic building and continue to welcome input from our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. This facility will fill a crucial need, as it is vital to provide our students with state-of-the art laboratories, classrooms and other facilities so that they are prepared for the workforce when they graduate.
We have received the design funding for the building, and are on the governor’s proposed capital budget for construction funding. Look for further opportunities to provide your input regarding what is best suited for our students and community needs for this building.
WSU and Columbia Basin College have worked diligently together throughout the past year to re-establish working relationships between our two academic institutions, and in doing so, are looking to further agreements to make for a smoother and more succinct transfer process between our two schools. This is vital, as students need to have direct pathways to ensure their future success in the workforce, and generally, in their livelihoods.
And finally, we are well into our strategic planning process that will detail our goals for WSU Tri-Cities for the next several years. We welcome all thoughts on where we should head in these next few years, as well as further into the future. Look for announcements on when to participate in these conversations. We have held a handful of meetings so far, but will hold more public opportunities here in the near future. Visit tricities.wsu.edu/strategicplanning for more information.