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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elizabeth City State launches mobile giving campaign

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) has partnered with The Elizabeth City State University Foundation to launch a new program designed to capture donations via text message. To power its mobile platform, ECSU through The ECSU Foundation has partnered with Denver based Mobile Accord, Inc., the premier provider of mobile technology to the non-profit sector. The mobile giving channel is supported by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint/Nextel, T-Mobile and US Cellular representing the vast majority of US mobile users.

ECSU is one of several universities in the United States to embrace the mobile giving channel allowing donors to connect with the organization and contribute funds through text messaging. Cell phone users will have the opportunity to instantly react to fundraising appeals and confirm their donation by simply sending a text message. The donation is charged to the donor's regular monthly cell phone bill and is separated from other transactions and identified as a non-taxable donation.

"Virtually anyone using a privately owned mobile phone can make a $10 donation to the university by sending the text message ECSU to 50555. This new technology will allow ECSU to connect with constituents, acquire new donors, and dramatically extend our overall reach through this vital new channel," said William Smith, vice chancellor for the Division of Institutional Advancement.

Elizabeth City State University and The ECSU Foundation representatives will launch the mobile giving program on August 28, 2010 during the halftime of the home, football game against Johnson C. Smith University. University and The ECSU Foundation representatives will repeat this mobile giving request at future games and fundraising events.

Friday, August 20, 2010

NCCU students want new Union bldg.

Students at N.C. Central University want a new student union.

"What we have now is too small. It's just not big enough for us anymore, not in the year 2010," said Dwayne Johnson, the NCCU Student Government Association president. "We really need a new union."

The current Alfonso Elder Student Union was built in 1968 and last renovated in 1992, it has one main floor, a lower level and a total of 39,575 square feet.

That's not nearly enough, Johnson says.

"We have about 130 student organizations now, and there are about seven to nine rooms available in the union," he explained. "There's not enough places for everybody to meet. And there's nowhere to hold events or to just hang out with friends. The place is just too small."

On the lower level, there's a bookstore, a post office, a game room, a small snack bar, a billiards room and even a small meditation room. An annex with bowling lanes, built more than 40 years ago, adds another 5,800 square feet.

NCCU already has more than $100 million in construction projects under way on campus, including construction of a massive parking deck, a new residence hall and a new nursing school building.

Johnson said he understood that the push for a new student union is unlikely to bear fruit in the immediate future.

"But I think we can begin to make progress," he said. "We need to get people talking about this. We need to set the groundwork. Whether this takes five years or 10 years, we need to get this started."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Housing crunch leaves student homeless at Southern

More than a few Southern University students say arrived on campus last Thursday to find they didn't have a dorm assignment.

Ashton Bush has a lot on his mind as he heads back to class. He didn't think finding a place to sleep would be one of them.

"I've been paying $8,500 every semester," said Bush. "This is gonna be the eighth time staying in an apartment, a lot of time it's a struggle."

Bush, who is originally from Houston, arrived at Southern with a car full of belongings, but no place to put them. He says that he filled out the housing applications and paid the fee on time.

Larry Harvey found himself in a similar situation. He says he doesn't have family in Baton Rouge to help him out and really needs a dorm room.

"So, the only I thing I could do was pay my fees, go to housing and figure out if something could be done, if I could get into something," said Harvey.

What he found was a 15-page waiting list.

"There's nothing we can really do," said Harvey. "Just get your name on the waiting list and we'll call you and let you know what's going on."

The seniors took their concerns to Southern's Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Dr. Mwalimu Shujaa. Shujaa says as of today, there were 117 open slots for housing, but it was just a matter of sifting through the wait-list.

"Now in addition to that we are making contact with a housing complex very near the campus," he said. "We worked with them before to accommodate students we were not able to house on campus," said Shujaa.

Bush says he and Harvey were told the school is trying to get them a place to stay.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Bush says he had not yet heard anything from the provost. If he doesn't get a room tonight, he's relying on friends to help him out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NCCU to welcome 1,400 freshmen this fall

N.C. Central University is expecting to welcome 1, 400 freshman this fall -- among the largest freshmen classes the school has ever had. The new class begins moving in this week, and the university apparently has enough on-campus housing space to accommodate them all.

"We have reserved enough spaces," said Kevin Rome, NCCU's vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management.

"Right now, we're at capacity, but we should be fine. The only problem would be if we have a large number of students in the next day or two who haven't already confirmed that they are coming. We don't expect that, but there's no way to predict that now."

The 1,400 first-year students would tie the record set last year as the largest entering class. Those figures are about 30 percent higher than any previous classes.

NCCU, traditionally shy of on-campus housing, had to struggle with the size of the class last year. The university ran out of on-campus options and had to house around 300 students for the first semester at the Millennium Hotel.

There are no plans to do anything similar this year, even if more students do show up this week, Rome said.

"We are no longer in the business of providing off-campus housing," he said.

"We've decided not to house any students off-campus. We will make every attempt to keep them here based on what vacancies we have. If we can't accommodate them here, if we have 20 or 30 students we didn't anticipate, we will work with the students to identify off-campus housing possibilities."

The university was able to meet its enrollment goal and keep the Class of 2014 at the record-setting number of 1,400 students despite tuition increases totaling $548 a year for undergraduates who are North Carolina residents.

"I don't think the increases have had a major impact on enrollment here," Rome said. "It is, of course, a significant increase for some students, but when you factor in financial aid, the impact is not as great as it is at, say, UNC Chapel Hill."

At the end of its session this summer, the state Legislature agreed that the additional funds brought in by tuition increases at UNC system campuses could remain with the schools and be used for financial aid.

At NCCU, around 90 percent of students receive some kind of financial aid and more than 50 percent are eligible for the need-based federal Pell Grant financial aid program.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuskegee upgrades architecture department to stand alone school

On the eve of his departure as president, Tuskegee's Dr. Benjamin F. Payton announced that the Board of Trustees approved his recommendation to elevate the Department of Architecture at Tuskegee University to School status.

The new school was given the name the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture, in honor of the first black to graduate in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Taylor set up the architecture program at Tuskegee in 1892, at the invitation of founder, Booker T. Washington.

"This move reinforces the University's efforts to increase visibility and strength in that area (architecture)," Payton said. "The action should also serve as a strong statement of the University's commitment to the program over the long haul."

Current architecture department head, Dr. Richard Dozier, has been named the first dean of the new school.

Architecture was a department within the College of Engineering, Architecture and Physical Sciences. The dean of the College, Dr. Legand Burge, stated that he is "fully supportive of the action of the trustees and the president. It is the right direction in which we should be going."

Tuskegee University began offering certificates in architecture under the Division of Mechanical Industries in 1893. The four-year curriculum in architecture leading to the Bachelor of Science degree was initiated in 1957 and the professional six-year program in 1965. The program is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Enrollment up Albany State works through growing pains

The largest incoming freshman class in Albany State University history is causing on-campus housing problems, forcing school officials to boost dorm room occupancy from two to three students. The housing crunch is temporary and will be alleviated next fall with the construction of two new residence halls.

Incoming freshmen at ASU are required to live on-campus unless they live within 50-miles of the university.

“Over the last five years we have experienced enormous growth at Albany State University,” ASU President Everette Freeman said. “The Board of Regents has asked that we open wide our doors. Perhaps 1,000 freshman will be on campus this fall, and our growing pains are causing housing problems.”

ASU will break ground on two new dorms on Aug. 20. Construction is scheduled to be complete by Aug. 18, 2011. In addition, the school is also building a new student center. Total cost for the three buildings-- $48 million. Students will pay for part of the costs with a $100 fee to fund the new construction. The remainder will be paid for with grant money.

“Tripling up the freshmen is not an easy decision, but we really don’t have any other choice,” VP for Fiscal Affairs Larry Wakefield said. “A year from now we will have the new residence halls. We hope this is a temporary problem.”

“Many of the incoming freshmen had their own single rooms at home. They will now have the opportunity to meet more of their classmates. We think they will gel, for community and learn to live together, ” said Freeman

“Some may ask ‘what’s in it for Albany?’” Freeman said. “Not only will three new buildings add to the local economy, but studies have shown that our students contribute roughly $52 million a year to the local economy.”