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CougParents Program invites student groups to apply for funding

WSU students stay on a steel bridge they created for a competition
Members of the WSU Steel Bridge Team stand on the bridge they constructed for a national competition.

The Washington State University CougParents Program is helping members of registered student organizations (RSOs) on the Pullman campus gain valuable hands-on learning experiences this year.

The CougParents Program funds innovative initiatives that support enhanced learning and leadership outside of the classroom. Student groups in good standing are eligible to apply for the funds, which will be given based on each group’s stated need and the impact their program will have on students.

Pullman RSOs are encouraged  to apply for funding no later than Sept. 15.

Kari Sampson, director of development for the Division of Student Affairs, expects a high number of applications this year.

“I anticipate the demand for funding will be really high because students are back on campus and they are excited to get going,” Sampson said.

Helping dreams come true

In 2019-2020, the CougParents program supported nine student organizations, many of which would not have been able to proceed with their program or activity without this funding assistance.

For members of the Cougs in Space Club, CougParents funding allowed them to build a vacuum chamber to test an electric propulsion prototype they designed and constructed. It also supported a presentation of their prototype at a conference, where they met some of the top propulsion researchers in the nation.

“Thanks to this fund, we’re now in talks with the dream company of any engineer, NASA, to collaborate on and see out this project,” said Colin Warn, Cougs in Space president. “It’s honestly a dream come true.”

The WSU Steel Bridge team used its funds to compete in the American Institute of Steel Construction Student Steel Bridge Competition. While constructing their 21-foot bridge, the team experienced hands-on learning in structural design, construction scheduling, and estimating.

“We do not believe competing would have been possible without the support we received from the CougParents Fund,” said William Nickelson, WSU Steel Bridge Team captain.

This semester, the Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Organization (CPGSO) will use its funding to host Coug Voices, a virtual event designed to address mental health challenges in Cougar communities.

“We are so excited about Coug Voices,” said Reanne Cunningham Chilton, CPGSO president. “It will truly be a special event, and we are grateful that the CougParents Program cares as much about mental health as we do.”

Elevating to the next level

The success stories shared by RSOs inspire members of the CougParents Program to be part of the selection process. As parents of a current or former WSU student, or as WSU graduates themselves, they know student groups often struggle to fund their projects, Sampson said. They also recognize the positive impact student-driven projects have in WSU communities and on the student organizers themselves.

“Supporting student organizations is something that resonates with our advisory board members,” Sampson said. “It is a great way to entwine your passions with those of the students and help them elevate their projects to the next level.”

The CougParents Fund is made possible through contributions from WSU parents, guardians, family members, alumni, and friends.

To learn more about applying for the funds and how to give, visit the CougParents Program website.

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