University receives $7.5k ‘Play for Change’ grant

Macy Santicola, Editor

On Jan. 30, the Pittsburgh Playful Collaborative (PPC) announced that West Liberty University was among the 8 applicants that had been awarded the $7,500 Play for Change Grant.

On Oct. 30, a WLU team attended PPC’s UnConference, “Play for Change, a day-long event to think critically about play.” The team consisted of Lou Karas, Director of the Center for Arts and Education; Dr. Jeremy Larance, Assistant Provost; Kate Billings, Director of Student Activities and Title IX Coordinator; Dr. Miriam Douglas, Community Education Director; Kathleen Wack, Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education; Dr. Jason Metz, Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology; and Masters of Education Program graduate assistant Alecia Ford.

The grant was awarded to applicants in order to support “ideas or events about collaborative, playful, uplifting and accessible play for their communities.”  WLU plans to use the grant funds in order to create permanent and semi-permanent elements around campus, both indoors and outdoors, to integrate the existing objects and activities already available on campus.

“There has been a concerted effort coming out of student activities and other groups to have more things happening on campus for students,” said Karas. “The group felt that this was an opportunity to add more to that, to work together, and to bring some different fun things to campus that, in many ways, could be done spontaneously.”

Students may be familiar with the larger items located on the campus quad such as Connect Four. The group plans to use the grant money for similar things that can be placed both indoor and outdoors as well as continue to hold more fun and relaxing activities on campus. One of the objects mentioned was Everblocks which are larger, more life-sized versions of Lego-like bricks used to build things which can be put indoors or outdoors.

Karas and the rest of the group saw PPC’s grant as a way to keep the momentum going on creating more opportunities for activities and bringing in fun play elements around campus. “Having activities around really becomes part of that high ed experience,” said Karas.

Brainstorming sessions will be held in order to come up with more ideas for the funding, and those sessions will be open to any student, faculty, and staff member who would like to share their input. Be on the lookout for more activities geared towards play and relaxation, and take some time to have some fun on campus!

 Photo Provided: Pittsburgh Playful Collaborative