Staff Senate Scholarship Fund passes $100,000 milestone, becomes self-sustaining

Staff Senate representatives and engineering students show off this year’s holiday ornament, which was created in the university’s Rapid Center. Sale of the ornament helped boost the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund to the self-sustaining level of $100,000. Meeting at the Kimmel School are (from left) student Thomas Lowe; Natalie Broom, chair of Staff Senate; Deidre Hopkins, chair of the senate’s scholarship selection and fundraising committee; and student Riley Seyffert.

They did it, and then some, all with a little help from their friends.

After 11 consistent years of fundraising to provide relatives of staff members with scholarship support, the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund reached, then surpassed, the $100,000 milestone on Tuesday, Dec. 4, with a $500 donation by a WCU colleague.

It was a great day, said Natalie Broom, chair of Staff Senate, and one that came a few weeks early, thanks in part to the organization’s annual holiday ornament sale fundraiser.

“Selling all 200 of our ornaments got us really close to this milestone,” she said. “Once we started communicating how close we were to achieving this goal, the final push came from generous donations from the amazing campus staff, who were determined to help Staff Senate not only achieve this goal, but put us over. We had set an internal goal of reaching this milestone by the end of December, and I am happy to report that we achieved this goal early.”

The final tally, as of Dec. 11, is $100,242.80, Broom said. Reaching the $100,000 mark means the fund is self-sustaining – only the interest earned will be used for scholarships beginning with those awarded in the spring of 2020. The Staff Senate Scholarship Fund was created in 2007 to promote higher education and help relatives of staff members attend WCU.

Financed primarily through employee payroll deduction and universitywide fundraisers, such as percentage nights at Zaxby’s and Frosty Bites, the ‘I Love WCU’ campaign and other events, the Staff Senate Scholarship Fund usually awards three scholarships of about $1,000 each year.

This year also marked the first time the Staff Senate sold all of its ornaments so quickly – they sold out three weeks ago. This year’s limited-edition ornament was designed and made by two WCU engineering students at the Rapid Center. The students produced 200 ornaments, which sold for $10 each.

Even though the scholarship fund has met its goal, Broom said Staff Senate hopes to partner with the Rapid Center on another ornament. “It was a great experience that will benefit students for years to come,” she said. “We will continue the ornament tradition, but we are always brainstorming new and innovative ideas that will help our fundraising efforts.”

Staff Senate is planning an event in January to celebrate reaching the $100,000 milestone, Broom said. “I just want to say it is truly an honor and very humbling to represent such dedicated and hardworking staff,” she said. “This has been a work in progress for 11 years, and I am elated that this moment is finally here.”

The milestone comes as WCU is in the midst of its “Lead the Way: A Campaign Inspired by The Belcher Years.” With a goal of $60 million, the philanthropic campaign will conclude spring 2019.