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IU Northwest News

Donors put the love in IU Northwest


From scholarships to technology, research, and more, donors breathe life into all facets of campus

Thursday Feb 12, 2015


Philanthropic gifts to Indiana University Northwest make a difference.

Students who receive scholarship assistance share emotional accounts of the impact the support has had on their ability to finish their degree. Whether it’s a reward for academic achievement, or help for a student with tremendous financial need, scholarships make the high cost of getting an education more manageable.

Throughout the month of February, and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, IU Northwest is reflecting on the many ways that donors show their love for the campus.

Whether it’s through providing the most technologically advanced study tools or simply a restful place to study, assistance to further a faculty member’s research or cover the travel costs of a winning athletics team, giving to IU Northwest helps our campus live and breathe.

You have the power to support the part of IU Northwest that you cherish the most by designating where your gift will make a difference. Last year, IU Northwest awarded 300 student scholarships, and donor contributions also sustained multiple areas of campus life, including academic programming, faculty teaching and research, campus technology, and much more. Read on for some notable examples:

Supporting research for a greater good, and fostering faculty excellence

Launched in 2010, the Northwest Indiana Restoration Monitoring Inventory (NIRMI) has built a database that land managers, researchers, educators and the general public can use to learn about the many ecological restoration sites across the region and how they are succeeding.

One donor with a desire to help environmental endeavors succeed at IU Northwest did so by financially backing NIRMI. According to Peter Avis, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology and founder of NIRMI, the support will enable the database to continue its expansion and impact on restoration projects throughout Northwest Indiana.

NIRMI helps our faculty experts excel in their fields and conduct their own research while also helping students learn. At the same time, its growth helps environmental experts across the region to conduct their work more efficiently for the betterment of the landscape in the Calumet Region.

Campus beautification and art appreciation

Unveiled in 2006, the Shadows and Echoes Sculpture Garden, featured prominently in the heart of the IU Northwest campus in the Savannah Center courtyard, is one of the largest permanent public art exhibits in the region.

Many don’t realize this iconic area of IU Northwest was funded through generous donors. The sculptures, construction and landscaping cost approximately $500,000. Traditional avenues of University funding were not available for this project, so it was solely through private support that the visual arts project became a reality.

High-level gifts are permanently recognized within the garden, such as the “Ballast” sculpture donated by IU alumni Dave and Louise Allard.

An innovative learning environment through technology

In 2011, the School of Education, along with Information Technology Services, transformed a classroom into a state-of-the-art, technology-rich collaborative learning environment. It’s been coined the “Next Generation Classroom.” Their hope is to reveal the benefits of using such technology to enhance learning, with the end-goal of bringing this technology to more students.

Features of the classroom include video conferencing, collaborative work spaces, computer stations on wheels, and specialized audio-visual tools that make it easy to record, distribute and replay entire lessons. Professors say the technology helps students better juggle the demands of work, school and family, and serves as a bridge toward enabling more distance learning.

The “Next Generation Classroom” was largely paid for with gifts from IU Northwest friends.

An enriching student life

Donors contribute to a myriad of areas on campus that serve to create a thriving student life. Athletic activities, like basketball and volleyball teams, for instance, serve not only as avenues for students to gather, socialize and experience a sense of community with their campus, but also as opportunities for student-athletes to grow.

However, winning teams need financial support to be successful. Transportation, food and lodging costs to play away games and in national tournaments are opportunities in need of support. Donors help provide such support by defraying such costs associated with having a winning team.

Athletics Director Kris Schnatz said that contributions to the athletics program go a long way in reducing the stress of fulfilling the commitments of post-season championship play.

“Little things like the ability to arrive at our tournament location a day early to rest, or to provide new equipment, for example, these are the things that really help our student-athletes’ performance and allow us provide them with a better all-around experience for them,” Schnatz said.

Community Outreach

The Community Garden, located in a vacant lot just west of Cedar Hall and south of the John Anderson Library Conference Center, is a collection of planter boxes that are maintained by various community groups each spring through fall. The garden was first planted in 2011 by students from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs who sought to improve the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community by using sustainable development principles. The project was funded largely through donors, and continues to be maintained by their generous contributions.

The various community groups that have each adopted a box pledged to share a portion of the harvest yielded with various community organizations including shelters and a food pantry.

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