Congratulations to Alexis Kruger for winning the Student Employee of the Year Award in the category of critical thinking! Alexis is a psychology major, and we wish her continued success. No doubt she inherited some of the critical thinking skills from Chad Kruger.
As an undergraduate, I worked in the dining hall, eventually becoming a student manager of one of the locations. I made lifelong friends and worked many hours to earn a paid meal plan, but I can’t say critical thinking was core to the position. Perhaps it was, and I didn’t recognize it as such. Regardless, I was fortunate to have been able to work full time as a student. Coupled with a second job at a small dairy farm, scholarships, and Pell Grants, I was able to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses.
Today’s students have higher costs. Many are just a car transmission, textbook fee, or brief flu event away from not being able to continue for financial reasons. As we advance toward #CougsGive day in April 2023, student circumstances weigh heavily on my mind. I know that Jean Dodson Peterson is working hard to develop a fund for viticulture and enology students in need of acute funding support. CAHNRS has done the same.
Because we know from CAHNRS student data that a small, unexpected financial need such as a car repair or rent increase can completely derail a student already on the edge of food insecurity from completing their degree, I started the CAHNRS Community Scholarship. The scholarship’s goal is to keep on a path to completion those students who might otherwise not finish because of an immediate financial need. In addition to the pledge to fund the base endowment, I am hopeful that the CAHNRS community will support the fund by contributing to a match challenge. This year, I am offering up to $4,000 to match scholarship contributions from employees. We have secured approximately 20% of the match at this time. I know the CAHNRS community is a generous group, and I hope that each year the CAHNRS development team asks me to increase the match.
Imagine if students felt that every CAHNRS employee was looking out for them. How much one gives is far less important than the message it sends to our students that the CAHNRS community is rooting for their success. How powerful of a statement would that be, not just for current and prospective students, but for alums and each of us as employees? The possibilities are endless.