Donations from members of the Philanthropic Women for Education (PWE) at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) funded more than $21,000 in student-centered projects in 2020.
“I think this group of supporters is among the most unique for our campus, and, perhaps, the most unique in the country for a higher education institution,” said MSU-WP Interim Chancellor Dennis Lancaster.
“In pooling their resources and through their personal interaction with the campus community, the Philanthropic Women for Education infuses an extraordinary and rarely seen level of ‘hope’ into the campus, assisting our students, faculty and staff in ways the university cannot, given our limited and restricted resources,” he explained.
“Without their generosity, Missouri State-West Plains wouldn’t be able to provide that measure of excellence as we serve our students and expand the educational opportunities for them and their families,” Lancaster added.
What is PWE?
Formed in 2003, PWE supports Missouri State-West Plains in its mission by expanding the involvement of women as philanthropists. The group meets three times a year to hear from guest speakers and talk with prospective members.
During the final meeting of the year, group members review proposals submitted by faculty and staff, then vote on projects to recommend for funding with their combined annual gifts.
Past projects funded by PWE include tutors, equipment purchases and travel expenses for conferences attended by student groups. PWE also furnished a classroom in Looney Hall, which houses allied health programs.
Projects supported by PWE this year include:
- Focus First Vision Program: Sponsored by the Nursing Department and supported by the service learning office at the MSU campus in Springfield, student nurses provide yearly vision screenings at area schools and day care centers using state-of-the-art vision scanners. In the past, MSU-WP nursing students had to borrow equipment from the Springfield campus to conduct the local screenings. Funds awarded for the program will be used to purchase a vision scanner for the local campus, allowing the students to conduct screenings throughout the year. It also gives them the opportunity to provide a service to the community and interact with pediatric patients.
- Communication Aid for Hearing Impaired: Funds will be used to purchase a communications device that allows for real time, face-to-face communication with individuals who are hearing impaired. The device includes connected keyboards and screens that allow two individuals to converse with each other by entering information for the other person to read.
- Oz-Con Banners: As Oz-Con continues to grow each year, it is vital to maintain a professional aesthetic to keep attendees and vendors coming back. With guests from all over the Ozarks and celebrity participants from across the country, stand-up banners are very helpful to lay out where certain events are located. The event is hosted annually by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) student organization.
- Welcome Week: This campus tradition is all about welcoming new students and bringing the university together. Donations and sponsorships allow officials in the student life and development office to host several activities that center on building community and fostering friendships.
- Celebrating Our Diversity/Avenue of Flags: To celebrate the growing diversity of the MSU-WP campus community, the university’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Team is creating an ongoing permanent display of flags from each of the countries represented by students, faculty and staff on campus. During this past fall semester students from nine countries were enrolled, and four faculty and staff members represented three different countries as their native home. The campus also has nearly 600 students at its branch campus at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China.
Nursing department benefits
For the nursing department, the generosity of PWE members has been integral to their ability to provide the best possible training experience for the students, said Amy Ackerson, associate dean of nursing and allied health.
“Because of their generosity, we have been able to purchase many items that have enhanced the education of area nurses. Many of our grant requests have been used to transform our nursing practice lab into a space that is more representative of what they will see in area hospitals,” Ackerson said.
“All of us in the nursing department are extremely thankful for the PWE. We could not run a successful program without the ongoing, steadfast support of the community of west Plains and generous donors who believe in our program. Thank you, PWE!,” she added.
For more information about PWE and how to join, call the Missouri State-West Plains development office at 417-255-7240.