Lane’s Michael Briggs Warming Center, modeled after Eugene’s Egan Warming Centers, has come to fruition. Houseless Lane students will have a place to sleep on campus when temperatures drop below 30 degrees. They will be given dinner, breakfast and bedding.
A warming center for the college was first proposed by Public Safety Chief Jace Smith. Subsequently, student government and OSPIRG passed resolutions in support. A proposal was then presented to the Board of Education in January and was immediately met with enthusiasm from board members for making the center a reality.
Brian Kelly, vice president for college services, announced at the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 4 that he has instructed Egan Warming Centers to include Lane Community College in their program the next time they activate for cold weather.
The announcement was met with a round of applause. Kelly said that the season for warming centers extends from Nov. 15 through Mar. 31 and that Lane is pleased to be part of a community that now has ten such centers.
“I was really stunned to realize that we have students who have to use their shelter dollars to pay tuition and attend Lane Community College,” board member Rosie Prior said. She expressed concern that perhaps there are other ways in which the college can be helping houseless students, such as connecting them to other community services that can help in other ways.
Dawn de Wolf, interim vice president of academic and student affairs responded by saying that Lane offers strong informal support for students who don’t have shelter. Board chairman Pat Albright added that as part of the college’s mission of student success, helping students with social services is part of helping them with their education needs.
Albright said that the development is exciting and asked Kelly if there is a mechanism in place to continue the service next year. Kelly responded by saying that the current program is a pilot program and that he will present a proposal regarding continuation next year at the April board meeting.
As previously agreed, the college will provide the space and the Egan Warming Center will provide staff, volunteers and supplies for the center’s operation. Since it was proposed , the center has received continuous strong support from college administration, faculty members and students alike.