Sigma Pi funds Learning Center upgrade

Parker Willis

While most students walk past the Learning Center and never stop to think about what’s going on inside, one group of students looked in and saw an opportunity to give back.

Sigma Pi has started a tradition of holding a fundraiser every year to donate something back to the University. This year, the group chose to hold a walk-a-thon to raise money for disability services, a department of the Learning Center.

The event raised a total of $1,500. Which was the goal, because, at the time, that was the cost of Kurzweil 3000, a computer program disability services wanted.

“It works with a scanner and reads items to individuals with a learning difference,” said Judy Elimelech, coordinator of disability services. “It marks each word as it reads them so a person with dyslexia who has a problem with focusing on words can become a better reader.

“There is also a dictionary built in so if a word comes up and a student isn’t sure what the word is they can double click on it to get the definition and hear it in a sentence.”

Elimelech said she knows of at least 25-75 students on campus that could use this program right now, but since not all students with disabilities use the center there are certainly more that could benefit from it.

Currently the program only costs about $1,200, so the other $300 will go to other things the disability services coordinator thinks will help students.

“This is a piece of software we would’ve liked to have purchased a couple of years ago but we really haven’t had the resources to do it so this is excellent timing,” said Eillen Godsey, director of the Learning Center. “We don’t really have an equipment budget, so as far as software goes this is a huge infusion to our budget. We would not have been able to purchase it otherwise.”

No one from Sigma Pi was available for comment but the employees of the Learning Center were definitely appreciative of the students for their hard work.

“I really admire them because many college students don’t think about turning around and giving back to their community and they have gone out of their way to find things not just in the community, but specifically here at Missouri Southern,” Elimelech said.