As the Dean of Student Services, Dr. Betsy Harrison is a passionate student advocate. She began working at Thomas Nelson in 2008 at the Historic Triangle campus. In addition to her administrative duties, she enjoys teaching SDV and Education courses.
Betsy’s three-year experience as a board member for an educational foundation paved the way for her to arrive at Thomas Nelson with philanthropic zeal.
In her current role, she discovered the Student Emergency Fund, which allows students to receive assistance when they encounter obstacles that impede their success. In reviewing applications, she saw that many students were in need of basic life necessities. These unmet needs are often the barriers that keep them from completing their programs. Student emergency funding has helped students to purchase bus passes, attend to unexpected car repairs, and recover from theft and natural disasters, and more.
As a consequence, Betsy advocated for the creation of the Care Team Cupboard, a food pantry benefitting students and employees. Financial donations to the Care Team Cupboard can be more impactful than receiving canned and non-perishable donations. A can of food from a grocery store can cost a $1 or more. However, due to our partnership with the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, we can purchase food for 19₵ per pound.
Betsy focused on alleviating hunger because, “Not much learning occurs when students are hungry. You can’t focus on biology or English composition if you’re hungry.” She is leading an initiative to get the word out about the Student Emergency Fund and Care Team Cupboard.
Betsy reflected, “It’s rewarding to know that our dollars help people right here in our community. We see them in our hallways and at the cafeteria. These are our students. We can help more students if more of us commit to donating to the Educational Foundation.”