WEST CHESTER, PA — In the spirit of the holiday season, West Chester University (WCU) is continuing its tradition of supporting Promise Program students who lack stable homes by providing them with accommodation and meals during the five-week winter break.
The initiative is funded by Promise Program Scholarships and made possible through the annual university-wide holiday drive organized by Head Football Coach Bill Zwaan. Gifts for approximately 50 Promise Program students are being collected now through December 16 at Coach Zwaan’s office on campus.
Coach Zwaan, the NCAA Division II all-time winningest active head coach, will retire after 21 years and 20 seasons of football. However, he remains committed to making this holiday season memorable for the Promise Program students. “Even though I am retiring, I am staying through Christmas to help make this the best holiday ever for our Promise Program students,” says Coach Zwaan.
The university community and the public are encouraged to donate items that would be useful for college students such as gift cards, WCU sweatshirts and hoodies, storage totes, photo frames, laundry baskets, thermal water bottles, bath toiletry sets, and more. The WCU Campus Store is also participating in the drive, allowing people to shop online or in-store without restrictions.
The Promise Program, organized by Tori Nuccio, has been providing support services to housing insecure students since 2014. These services include monthly programming, priority access to housing, tutoring, and on-campus jobs.
The university also operates a Resource Pantry, which provides fresh food, toiletries, school supplies, and an area where students can enroll in government benefits. The pantry organizes a program called Operation S.N.O.W. (Student Needs Over Winter), ensuring it remains well-stocked over the winter break.
University Student Housing, a nonprofit corporation, has been offering housing scholarships since 2016 for students who would otherwise have to return to shelters at the end of the spring semester.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Promise Program can do so through the WCU Foundation’s webpage. The university is extending its gratitude to all those who help make the holiday season brighter for its students.