AEP donation to West Liberty University Foundation funds distance learning project

Since the middle of the spring 2020 and beginning of fall 2020 semester, West Liberty students have been navigating how to adapt to distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has affected students in various ways, but one concept is common among most—distance learning is an adaptation that can be hard to manage at times. Students at West Liberty are hoping that this generous donation from AEP will help the university assist students in ways that they were not able too before.

On Nov. 17, 2020, WLU Media Relations published a press release stating that the American Electric Power [AEP] Foundation funded a Distance Learning Project at West Liberty.

The press release contained a statement from Angie Zambito-Hill, the executive director of the WLU Foundation and is as follows: “I am excited to announce that AEP generously presented the WLU Foundation with a $25,000 check to assist us in out distance learning project. This project will greatly advance our ability to provide distance learning opportunities for students…”.

West Liberty student Ross Salvatori said he prefers in person learning because it is easier for him to focus and interact with the professor; however, he is grateful that the university is still offering him access to his education during the pandemic. “AEPs gift to West Liberty was extremely generous and will help so many people as we see cases continue to surge,” said Salvatori.

The President and COO of Appalachian Power [an AEP company] Chris Beam is also documented within the release saying the AEP Foundation is “happy to support the West Liberty Foundation, and excited to be a part of this important project that supports higher education in the Mountain state.”

According to WLU Media Relations, the check will help build new projectors, audio reinforcements, video conferencing, TV monitors, a microscope that can project a screen, which according to Joe Rodella (chief information officer), will give instructors “a manageable control capability.”

Yodev Ocasio, a senior who will be graduating from the university this December shared how he has adapted to this semester saying, “personally, the tradition to online learning has forced me to find new levels of motivation since there is no personal interaction. However, given the circumstances, I think it’s wonderful that AEP and West Liberty are being proactive in helping students through this situation.”

While the grant will help all students at West Liberty, it will especially help students within the master’s Physician Assistant Studies program at the university due to the technology allowing professors to teach medical specialties at a distance, according to Rodella.

Another West Liberty Student, Kate Roberts shared her experiences with navigating COVID-19 and distance learning as a first-year college student. Roberts learning has been affected greatly by the pandemic and it has been difficult for her to adapt to distance learning when she was used to the one on one with teachers. Even though this semester has been a hard one for Roberts, she is still thankful for the university’s efforts saying, “I think that WLU is really doing a lot to aid students the best they can!”

For more information about AEP’s donation and the contents within this article, please email the West Liberty’s director of Media Relations, Maureen Zambito, at [email protected] To view the press release, please follow this link.