Digital Lifelines

Not all students were equipped for distance learning. The EWU Foundation was there to help.

by Eastern Magazine

Early in the pandemic, when Eastern was forced to shift to virtual learning, many students were left without the technology they needed to continue their educations. Fortunately, the EWU Foundation and the university’s Student Care Team recognized the need and quickly utilized the Student Emergency Fund to purchase Chromebooks. Two hundred were distributed at the beginning of spring quarter.

Since then, the “thank you” notes from students who applied for and received the laptops have been streaming in. Janastasia Jackson-Stiller is one of those students. She says the support meant a lot to students who, like her, were feeling overwhelmed with online learning.

If you are interested in making a difference in students’ lives with a gift to the emergency fund, please visit the Giving to EWU webpage:

“I just wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude and appreciation,” Jackson-Stiller wrote. “I was blessed with a laptop grant and that was great news. It gave me the confidence I needed to tackle this quarter of online classes. When I picked the laptop up and took it home, I expected it to be [just] a tool to get me from point A to point B in my academics. I was brought to tears when I got home and opened it up: It was absolutely beautiful. It may seem like a small thing, but in the midst of all this upheaval and uncertainty I was truly blessed by this.”

Jackson-Stiller using her new Chromebook.

Judy Miller in EWU’s Student Accounting Department helped with the ordering and distribution of the Chromebooks. Miller says that every student she’s spoken with has been appreciative and thankful.

“I heard things like: ‘Thank you so much, you saved my life!’ ‘Please tell whomever gave us these, thank you!’ ‘I appreciate you so much!’ ‘OMG, I have been using my phone for all my assignments, this is amazing!’ Lots more comments like that,” she says.

Donor gifts make the Student Emergency Fund possible. On Giving Joy Day, which occurred April 3, EWU faculty and staff raised more than $29,500 to help cover immediate student needs. Additional Eastern supporters gave almost $13,000 to the fund that day.