Support Low Income College Students During COVID

by Wayfinding Academy

To friends new and old to APB,        

We wanted to write to you about our journey in creating APB together so far, where we want to go to make this a more diverse, inclusive, and accessible community, and why this mission matters to us. 

In a nutshell, APB is an in-person learning community in nature for college students studying online. This fall, we welcomed 45 students representing 34 different universities to our first campus in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona. Together, we’ve learned a lot about complementing online education with place-based community and learning amidst a global pandemic. We’ve built protocols for our COVID-safe bubble, iterated on our programming around mentorship, workshops and community events, and explored climbing and mountain biking, as well as trips to national parks like the Grand Canyon. 

Looking towards spring 2021, we’re excited to keep growing our community with a second campus in the Front Range of Colorado. Already, we’ve received nearly fifty deposits and over a hundred applicants. However we feel an equal, if not greater, urgency to serve students from underrepresented backgrounds.

That’s why we’re raising $50,000 over the next three weeks. We will provide scholarships to support 50 students with an avg. of $5,000 each, with some needing more and others less. 

To us, raising this amount so quickly is doing the seemingly impossible, but we believe that the stakes for students disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 calls for this urgency. While nearly all college students have struggled in some way since campuses shut downs earlier this year, we know many first-generation, low-income, Dreamer and BIPOC students have faced a different level of consequence than others: 

First-generation students agreeing with “I have a great study environment” plummeted four-fold, from 84% pre-COVID to only 20% this fall. 

58% of Dreamers report needing mental health services, 65% report needing assistance to pay for rent, and 48% report needing assistance for food.

62% of indigenous students were food insecure in the prior 30 days, 69% were housing insecure in the previous year, and 30% were homeless in the previous year. 

We see it as our moral imperative to provide a safe and stable learning environment for as many students as possible who really need it this spring. As we bring these scholarship students in for the project that is APB, we plan to build something together that lasts into a “post-COVID” world. We’re excited to…

Help launch any interested BIPOC students into the outdoors industry and more generally desegregate outdoor recreation like backpacking, rock climbing, and skiing. 

Pilot new models of student support only possible at our campus size, i.e. 60 students per site, vs. thousands or tens of thousands of students on a traditional campus.

Re-imagine the co-curricular, residential experience to complement different online offerings, and do so in a way that includes those who are excluded from 4-year colleges.

If you can sponsor one student with a $5,000 scholarship, that means the world to us. If you can sponsor all the students with a larger gift (or know someone who can), that would be a game-changer. 

We appreciate in whatever way you can join us on this journey. We’d love to keep building this with you. 


The APB Family

After a small administrative fee that supports Wayfinding Academy's fiscal sponsorship, all the funds raised will go toward covering the gap between what students can contribute and the total cost of APB, in some cases including travel to and from campus in the spring.

Wayfinding Academy is a two-year college in Portland, Oregon with a goal of cultivating curious, resilient and purpose-driven students. Our student-first approach provides a real world-based education that reaches beyond the traditional classroom model, to catch those falling through the cracks of higher education.

Wayfinding Academy is a U.S. tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization acting as a fiscal sponsor organization for A Place Beyond for this fundraising campaign.



Wayfinding Academy

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