With a majority of classes at Selkirk College being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is now more important for students now more than ever.
“Too often we take access to computer technology for granted,” said Aron Burke, Kootenay Savings Credit Union Community Liaison. “When we heard about students having to complete course work on phones using WiFi at local fast-food restaurants, that was not acceptable.”
Selkirk College has since created the Digital Equity Initiative, which emphasizes that every student has access to the proper technology they need to tackle online schooling.
The new grant will give full-time students $500 towards the purchase of a new desktop or laptop computer in order to complete their programs from home, if they meet the eligibility requirements,
Selkirk College’s new Manager of Indigenous Education and Engagement, Dianne Biin played a crucial role in getting the initiative started.
“Student resolve to complete their studies was remarkable in spite of digital inequity. During enrollment for this year at Selkirk College, students shared with counselors their lack of access to computers as a barrier for their learning.”
The grant is accumulated from donations around the community. According to the College, the grant is currently up to $35,000 and is built by donations from Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Nelson Home Hardware, Cover Architecture, and other individual donors.
Students seeking the funding can apply directly through Selkirk College, while community partners wanting to donate to the program can still do so.