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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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NACC receives donation, funds help programming

Colorado State University’s Native American Cultural Center received a financial donation from the John and Sophie Ottens Foundation. 

The donation totals $700,000 and will be used to support a myriad of operations within the NACC such as leadership development and student tutoring.

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“It’s a gift that’s designed to last us 10 plus years,” said Ty Smith, director of the NACC. “It runs our retention programming, our peer-mentoring program, tutoring program. … Also, we’re able to pay student employees. That funding we receive from the Ottens Foundation really goes a long way for our office.”

“We’re so thankful to this foundation for all the support that they’ve provided. It’s really been impactful for us.” -Ty Smith, director of the NACC

The Ottens Foundation has a history of supporting Colorado State University and helping NACC programming since 2007, according to SOURCE. Additionally, in July, the foundation has made donations to other programs and universities, including Fort Lewis College.

Founded in 1998, the group has provided funding to the NACC annually, and their financial support extends to various other causes that focus on higher education, according to SOURCE.

For the NACC, the impact of this donation cannot be understated.

“It just impacts us in so many ways,” Smith said. “We, in turn, utilize that funding to really focus on impacting Native communities and supporting not only Native students but all CSU students.” 

For students like Nizhoni Hatch, the donation ensures that the NACC can continue to support the needs of the CSU community. 

Hatch has been employed by the NACC since spring of last year, first as a receptionist and later as a tutor in their office in the Lory Student Center. 

“I am incredibly grateful to feel belonging and purpose in my work, which supports me culturally and academically,” Hatch wrote in an email to The Collegian.

Hatch explained that she is able to represent her culture in science and use her education to empower Native women.

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“The impact of the donation extends beyond the University and truly empowers Native culture in all aspects,” Hatch wrote. “In the future, I am so excited to see the NACC empower Native students in higher education and advocate for education in Native communities.”

Over the years, the Native American Cultural Center has been consistent in their support of the CSU community through tutoring, education, employment and cultural events, a legacy they plan to continue with the help of the Ottens Foundation, according to Smith.

Throughout November, the NACC plans to celebrate Native American Heritage Month through various civic engagement and keynote speaker events and continues to serve as a place for all CSU students to receive support and feel a sense of belonging.

“We really are like a ‘home away from home’ for a lot of students,” Smith said. “We’re so thankful to this foundation for all the support that they’ve provided. It’s really been impactful for us.”

Natalie Weiland can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @natgweiland

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About the Contributor
Natalie Weiland
Natalie Weiland, News Director
Natalie Weiland is a sophomore political science student with a minor in legal studies and a fierce love of the Oxford comma. Weiland grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and served as an editor for her high school’s yearbook during her senior year. She credits the absolute chaos of the 2016 presidential election for introducing her to — and getting her hooked on — the world of politics and journalism. Her journey with The Collegian started in the fall of her freshman year when she began writing for the news desk.  In her spare time, Weiland enjoys reading and attempting to not have a heart attack every time The New York Times sends a breaking news update to her phone. She has two incredibly adorable dogs (that she will gladly show pictures of if asked) and three less-adorable siblings.  As news director, Weiland's main goal is to ensure that students trust The Collegian to cover stories that are important to and affect them, and she hopes that students are never afraid to reach out and start a conversation. Weiland is excited to see what The Collegian has in store this year and hopes to explore the campus community through reporting. 

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