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New Funds Look to Support Equity, International Students, Study Abroad

Students in the James Baldwin Writers’ Colony visit the Louvre.

The College is launching three new funds that aim to create a future without borders for Emerson students.

The current use funds will support our international students, increase student access to study abroad opportunities, and help grow existing programs and develop new initiatives that advance equity at Emerson and infuse the College’s curriculum and learning opportunities with global perspective.

“Internationalization and equity, international students, and education abroad are at the very core of what’s important to us [as an institution],” Vice Provost for Internationalization and Equity Anthony Pinder said.

Read: At the Crossroads: Internationalization and Equity Roles to Expand Opportunity at Emerson

Pinder pointed out a number of rich and impactful equity-focused programs Emerson currently has, including the James Baldwin Writers’ Colony at Kasteel Well for students, and the President’s Fund for Curricular Innovation and  Diversity Fellows Program for faculty. But with more resources, the College could be doing even more work to ensure that every student feels that their lived experience and their Emerson experience fit well together.

“We have great ideas, but they need to be infused by greater dollars to support them,” said Pinder, co-editor of the forthcoming Reimagining Internationalization and International Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (PalgraveMacMillan, 2022).

The Internationalization and Equity Fund will support programs – new and existing — that lift up the voices of marginalized students and faculty, and help faculty integrate international perspectives and ideas into curriculum.  

Students from around the world are drawn to Emerson for its top-rated communication, arts, and liberal arts education, bringing with them viewpoints and cultural experiences from nearly 80 countries around the world. That diversity helps feed Emerson’s immense creativity and daring innovation.

Man sits in chair
Dr. Anthony Pinder. Photo/Derek Palmer

But too often, international students – who are not eligible for financial aid the way domestic students are – face financial hardships and life events that make staying at Emerson difficult, if not impossible. Loss of family income, upheaval due to war and violence, even fluctuations in international exchange rates, can cut short an international student’s course of study, Pinder said.

The International Student Assistance Fund will help ensure that students from abroad who are met with an insurmountable difficulty don’t need to withdraw from Emerson before completing their degrees.

“It’s almost like a last-mile award for our international students,” Pinder said.

Just as Emerson is enriched by a diverse student body, its students benefit academically, socially, spiritually, and professionally from venturing out into the wide world. Emerson’s 18 Global Pathways programs, various exchange programs, and beloved Kasteel Well help prepare students to be savvy and sophisticated leaders in their chosen fields, and, in the short term, make them better students.

“The research suggests what we already know to be true at Emerson, that students who study abroad are more engaged,” Pinder said. “I would definitely say it’s a high-impact learning opportunity for students.”

It’s also an added cost that many families can’t fit in the budget, a reality that the Education Abroad Assistance Fund hopes to address. Currently, Pinder said, roughly 500 undergraduates, or 13 percent, study abroad each year. He would love to see a day when half of every class spends some portion of their time at Emerson in a different part of the world.

The funds may be new, but the outcomes they support have long been part of the College’s strategic plan, Pinder said.

“When we look at what the priorities are of this institution, it’s only fitting that we have our giving priorities match what our strategic priorities are,” he said. “This is who we are, this is what we’re investing in, and [the community’s] support would be wonderfully appreciated.” 

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