As members of the Project Threshold family, many of us on the FORUM team are using this issue to encourage continued dialogue around the importance of OU’s Project Threshold offices for those who call it home. With news of Project Threshold’s precarious financial state, many students across campus need a space to talk about their concerns and frustrations. For years, the OU Project Threshold community has faced ongoing budget constraints and talk of the program shutting down. This August, many students became aware that current funding for OU Project Threshold (a “bridge” meant to continue the program until it was eligible to apply for Federal TRiO funding once again) was set to run out by September, and there was no set plan to allocate resources to fund the program.
For many minority, low-income, disabled, and first-generation college students at the University of Oklahoma and at universities and colleges across the nation, Project Threshold is one of few spaces where students can find community and feel deeply invested in by staff. The resources and space offered by Project Threshold have been credited by students as a resource that helped them graduate and continue their education. In this issue of FORUM, you will find many first-hand accounts of stories just like this: student contributors found themselves lifted from financial, academic, and mental health crises that may have otherwise ended in defeat, among other important benefits of membership in the OU Project Threshold family.
OU Project Threshold serves a vital role in the lives of under-resourced communities. Since OU is a predominantly white institution, this resource and community has become especially important for students of color. Above all else, we hope to call attention to the value of this community by giving a platform to the following students and alumni. We hope these stories inspire continued investment in underrepresented communities at OU as well as the staff who have worked so diligently to make OU Project Threshold a home for hundreds of students.
Emily “Eddy” Mee is a senior Political Science major enrolled in an accelerated Master of Public Administration degree program at the University of Oklahoma, and is Editor-in-Chief of FORUM at OU. She hopes to work in higher education policy, helping marginalized university and college students. She is a proud member of OU Project Threshold and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.