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Green River awarded $160,000 grant for Cultural Center

AUBURN, WA - Two years ago, Green River College surveyed its students to try to improve its Natural Resources Program. It found that while students understood how to write research essays, they did not have a full grasp of how different cultures viewed the natural world. Students wanted to learn more, but the college did not have the courses to teach them.

With this realization, Green River instructors began looking for ways to provide a more well-rounded education for their students. To be successful, they learned, graduates need to understand how to communicate and work with diverse audiences in private industry, government, labor and environmental groups.

The effort culminated last month with a $160,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to help the college establish a Humanities Cultural Center. The center will link Humanities courses with Green River's professional-technical programs and facilitate collaboration with regional cultural institutions.

"Green River has a proud tradition of incorporating humanities into the quality education our students expect and receive," said Green River President Dr. Eileen Ely. "We're thankful to the NEH for the grant and excited for the next steps to build a world-class humanities cultural center."

The grant was awarded as part of the NEH's Challenge Grants for Two-Year Colleges, a capacity building grant which requires the Green River College Foundation to raise additional funds on a two-for-one basis. The NEH grant will match 50 cents of every dollar of donated funds up to the grant's total amount through July 2017.

"The Humanities have a singular power to help people see bridges where they have only imagined barriers," said Jaeney Hoene, project director and English professor, "This center will bring together thousands of students, teachers and community members who will recognize and celebrate their shared heritage."

The NEH offers Challenge Grants for Two-Year Colleges to "strengthen their long-term humanities programs and resources," encouraging developed programs to be shared with other institutions while looking for new sources of humanities funding. To inquire about donations, call the Green River Foundation office at (253) 288-3330, email foundation@greenriver.edu or visit the foundation's website. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.