Friday, February 22, 2019

Appalachian Studies Assn. seeks donations for scholarships for students to attend its meeting in Asheville March 14-17

The annual conference of the Appalachian Studies Association is a yeasty brew of academics and activists, perhaps not to the taste of the new leadership at the Appalachian Regional Commission, which is no longer providing scholarships for students to attend the conference.

"This is the first year we find ourselves without ARC scholarship support since 2001," the organizers wrote in an email to ASA members and supporters. "Consequently, we have more scholarship requests than we do funding. We only have $9,482.01 to distribute among $18,950 in requests." Last year, ASA provided scholarships to 136 students.

ARC spokeswoman Wendy Wasserman told The Rural Blog in an email, "ARC funding to ASA has always been made at the federal co-chair’s discretion. We regularly evaluate our longstanding granting relationships, especially those made with limited discretionary funds. Our folks discussed the situation with ASA back in the fall." The federal co-chair, Tim Thomas, took the job in April.

In addition to the ARC's cut, college Appalachian centers and other higher-education units "have not been able to donate as much" since the Great Recession, the organizers said. They said checks can be sent to ASA at 1 John Marshall Dr. ,Marshall University, Huntington, WV 25755, and credit-card donations can be made by calling Executive Director Mary Thomas at 304-696-2904.

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