Monica Simpson

Metropolitan State University - 2018

Established a student organization to support non-traditional female students.

Project: MSU Denver has a significant number of non-traditionally aged students. Some are returning to school after a few or many years away, and some have never before had the opportunity to attend a university and earn a degree. Older students have distinct needs and challenges, as well as unique wisdom and supports to offer one another. The Wisdom Collective is a student organization that will allow and encourage older students to make meaningful connections with others who understand their journey. Our goal is to build community & connection, support & safety, and resources & resilience.

Inspiration:I found myself back in school after being widowed and raising my children to adulthood. There were numerous compelling and practical reasons I needed and wanted to earn my degree. My story isn’t really terribly unique; there is a substantial number of older students on our campus who’ve faced significant life challenges and are now working to balance academics and other responsibilities while pursuing a new or growing career. There are few if any resources that address our specific situation, and after talking with other non-traditional students I realized that we are in the best position to support ourselves. We have amazing adaptability and strengths! Our stories and experiences are our greatest assets, and I saw the need to create a place where we could share our wisdom, ideas, and encouragement with one another.

Future Plans for Project: My hope is that The Wisdom Collective will be a place of community, support, and resources for non-traditionally aged students. I’d love to see a student organization that not only looks after its own members, but also takes part in campus service projects to address needs of our student body as a whole. We are already working on two significant service projects for our inaugural 2018-2019 year: A Fall food drive for our school food pantry, and a Spring event to encourage and teach self-care to all students. I also envision steadfast and growing support of our members for one another, so that they can see their own true strengths and abilities and move forward into the next chapter of their lives with the knowledge and confidence that they are capable of affecting change in their own communities.