Every fall, more than 3,500 students arrive at Bloomsburg University, eager to move in and start the new semester. As they pull up to their new home, students and their supporters are greeted by maroon and gold pom-poms, excited cheers, and smiling faces. This is thanks to the Husky Orientation and Welcome Leaders, better known as HOWLs.

The HOWLs are a team of more than 60 undergraduate students who undergo an intense training program about campus resources, community-building, and of course, the move-in process in preparation to help students start off their year well. HOWLs are responsible for running summer orientation, move-in week, and welcome week, and they pride themselves on doing so with their Husky Spirit turned up to 10!

“We’ve all gone through the process, so we know what it feels like,” explained Zach Hicks, Student President of the HOWLs. “We’re here to help put students and their supporters at ease and lend an extra hand.”

Zach Hicks, Student President of the HOWLs

One of the greatest supporters of the Emergency Scholarship Fund is Bloomsburg University’s Community Government Association, or CGA. The Student President of CGA, Sabina Bower, shared why the organization chooses to give to the fund year after year: “As a student, it’s easy to relate to other students who need emergency scholarships. Life happens, circumstances differ, and everyone needs help! As a student leader in this role, it’s incredible to help other students finish their degrees and graduate. Never overlook the difference of a few hundred dollars in a student's life.”

In the 2021-22 academic year, a total of 89 Emergency, Strengthen the Pack, and Bloom On Scholarships were awarded to students, adding up to $185,883 in funds given. Of those, 34 were Bloom On Housing Grants, providing the opportunity for more students to return to Bloomsburg.

Robert Peoples, Student Vice President of the HOWLs

“While we were once just a student organization on campus, we are now considered full-fledged University employees,” Hicks explained. “We always used to politely explain that we could not accept tips, but then the idea arose to find a way to benefit the HOWLs through a scholarship. We’re all undergraduate students, and many of us hold second jobs, even during move-in week. Some of us will be here bright and early at 8 am and stay until 6 pm, then head to another job. With costs increasing even for things like textbooks, we thought creating a scholarship would be a perfect way to give a hardworking HOWL some extra support.”

The details of the selection process for the HOWL who will receive the scholarship are still being determined, but Robert made sure to explain that the funds will go to a very deserving HOWL: “Our goal is to hear from the HOWLS themselves first about whom they think has shown the most effort, enthusiasm, and need for the scholarship. But, we also don’t want it to be a popularity contest by any means, so our professional staff will also weigh in and get the final say as to who will receive the funds.”

To promote the scholarship during move-in week, Robert explained that the HOWLs came up with some fun and creative ideas. “We’ll have QR codes throughout the residence halls for students and supporters to use that will direct them to the scholarship crowdfunding page,” he noted. “But, we’ll also have other things, such as packs of tissues to hand out to supporters that include a flyer about the fund. So, on their way home, they can use the tissues and maybe even give back to the HOWLs that helped them out.”

The HOWLs highly recommend using the simple online crowdfunding page to donate, but any cash they receive will be taken back to their office and added to the fund.

If you moved a student into Bloomsburg this fall or you remember those smiling faces from back when you were moving in yourself, please consider giving them a tip towards their future.

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