2 WKU service programs to be consolidated next semester

Monica Kast

As a part of a budget reduction plan for the 2016-2017 academic year, the ALIVE Center and the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility will be consolidated next semester.

The consolidation of the ALIVE Center and ICSR will cut $151,000, according to the budget reduction plan.

President Gary Ransdell announced the plan, in which 24 programs are being effected by elimination or consolidation, last week. Ransdell said those determining programs that would be affected protected credit-bearing academic programs, personnel and essential student services.

“As harsh as it may seem, not everything measures up to essential student productivity, essential services for student productivity and degree completion,” Ransdell said at a media briefing last week.

Leah Ashwill, the director of the ALIVE Center, confirmed the consolidation in an email to students Wednesday. Ashwill said  the center and ICSR will be consolidated into one unit effective July 1.

“While it definitely feels like the end of a very special era, we are also excited about the opportunities that exist with the merging of the ALIVE Center and ICSR and the beginning of a new era of campus and community partnerships through this emerging programming model,” Ashwill said in the email.

In the email, Ashwill also said the ALIVE Center and its employees will be moving to the first floor of Tate Page Hall, where ICSR is currently located.

“We will be working throughout the rest of the spring and summer to determine what ALIVE Center and ICSR programs and services will continue as a result of this consolidation,” Ashwill said. “Generally speaking, the new Center will continue to serve as a connector for students, faculty and staff at WKU who wish to partner with community organizations for volunteer opportunities, service-learning projects, and other scholarly service endeavors.”

Since the consolidation’s announcement, participants in both the ALIVE Center and ICSR have voiced concerns and disapproval.

Jayme Hardy, graduate research assistant at the ALIVE Center and coordinator of the Bonner Leader program, said she hopes the programs will be able to sustain the positive influence they have on the community.

“My hope is that we’ll be able to find a way to maintain the programs offered,” Hardy said. Later, she added that she hoped that students and the community would not feel the consolidation’s impact.

Provost David Lee said he was optimistic about the consolidation of the ALIVE Center and ICSR, and neither were at risk of being eliminated.

“In many ways, the ALIVE Center and ICSR will function well together,” Lee said last week at the budget forum, where several students from both programs voiced concerns.

Lynne Holland, chief diversity officer, also spoke of the consolidation. She noted that she currently holds three job titles and that “this is the reality we live in.”

“Things are merging together so that we can continue to the best of our abilities,” Holland said. “We need your help in order to make that happen.”