OFFICE OF ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENTPassport Program
Vitor Moreira Da Silva
Vitor is currently a Sophomore at WSU and is majoring in International Business and minoring in Marketing. He moved to the US from Brazil in 2016 as a refugee.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to University. I was thinking about joining the military, but I ended up changing my mind, and said, maybe I need a better education to go somewhere in life. Education is a door for opportunities. I have a friend who went to WSU, and she showed me some pictures of the campus. I fell in love with the vibe WSU has and ended up coming here.”
Passport is a program which helps students who have experienced Foster Care or Homelessness by providing financial aid at the beginning of each semester. It’s made a huge impact on Vitor’s life and college career.
“It’s been financially difficult for me, especially in college. I was paying for school through WASFA, and on the WASFA application, it asked if I was in foster care. Then I got an email from a passport program member from Wazzu.”
“I don’t think I would be at WSU today without Passport. This is my second year and a lot of things have happened. I lost my job at WSU because of Covid, and the $1000 I get every semester from Passport is what’s helping me stay here and pay rent. My side job isn’t enough, and having that support is very helpful.”
“It’s a comfort to know that I won’t become homeless, because I have Passport to fall back on.”
Passport students also have access to advising services.
“I had questions about choosing between international business and computer science. I had a meeting with the advisor and she helped me research both fields, so I could come up with the answer myself.
I chose international business because I love traveling, experiencing new things, working with different cultures, and language. I like how nations communicate with each other and how their cultures impact business decisions.”
Calvin is a Freshman majoring in Kinesiology at WSU from Long Beach, Washington.
“A lot of my teachers from high school and a basketball coach that I’m close to went to WSU. They recommended WSU because it has a good community and a small town feel, but a lot of people, so you can experience different cultures. They said it would be a good fit for me, because I come from a small town.”
“Honestly, I didn’t even know what Passport was until I got put in it. When I first joined, I had the mindset that it was gonna be kinda lame, because that stigma of, ‘oh I was in foster care, so I’m probably going to be surrounded by people who think I’m not going to be successful, because I was put into a bad situation in life.’ I just wanted to be treated like everyone else. But of course, it’s actually super helpful, and Priya is great.”
Passport students take part in a UNIV class. During Covid-19, the class has been switched to an online format.
“Our class is like a home base. It’s super chill and we’re like a little family. We all know each other and chat together, and it’s honestly one of my favorite classes because everyone has their cameras on. It’s comforting to go in there with Covid right now, because we don’t get to talk to too many people in class.”
“Every Friday we have a workshop where a specialist comes to video chat with us. We had a librarian, a stress management person, a resume builder person. The list goes on.”
“It definitely helps you be more comfortable at WSU and helps you understand that you have a lot of support around you. It opened a window for me with support systems, like the writing center, libraries, and they have a lot of grants that you can get if you need help.’
If you are unsure about joining Passport, here’s what Calvin has to say.
“Passport is a program where a small group of people unite and build a community and support system. They don’t treat you like a baby. They just want you to know the resources you have at WSU. College isn’t like high school, so there are so many options of support and people who specialize in everything. It’s a nice transition to college, basically.”
“Just knowing that if I were to slip and fall they would be there to pick me up is super comforting.”
Calvin is currently applying to be a human development TA. His dream is to own a gym and become a professional bodybuilder.