December 1, 2023

WCU Continues Its Tradition of Collecting Holiday Items for Promise Program Students

trunk of giftsDuring its five-week winter break when most students leave campus, WCU will continue its tradition of helping Promise Program students who do not have homes by providing rooms in the residence halls and meals, which are paid for through donor-funded Promise Program Scholarships. Thanks to an annual university-wide holiday drive organized by Head Football Coach Bill Zwaan with the help of staff in the Division of Student Affairs, Deputy Director of Financial Aid Tori Nuccio and WCU’s Single Point of Contact Ian Davis, gifts for approximately 50 Promise Program students are being collected now through December 16, at 9 a.m. & 3 p.m., and dropped off at Coach Zwaan’s office on campus, which is located at 850 South New Street, West Chester, PA.

Following a family tradition for many years, Coach Zwaan and his siblings have foregone their own gift-giving to be Santa to WCU Promise Program students; they provide surprise gifts for the students. This holiday season is extra special for the Zwaan family and the University, as beloved Coach Zwaan, the NCAA Division II all-time winningest active head coach, will retire following 21 years and 20 seasons of football.

“Even though I am retiring, I am staying through Christmas to help make this the best holiday ever for our Promise Program students,” says Coach Zwaan. He welcomes the participation of all.

 “If you would like to help, think like a college student,” he says. “Our Promise Program students need gift cards ($25) from Wawa, 7-11, Dunkin’, Acme, Giant, Wegmans, Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Amazon, WCU Campus Store, Walmart, and local restaurants. They can also use the following:

  • WCU sweatshirts and hoodies, hats and gloves, scarves, slippers, headphones, Bluetooth speakers
  • Storage totes/ bins or shower caddies
  • Photo frames/journals/day planners
  • Laundry baskets and hampers
  • White or cork Boards
  • Thermal water bottles
  • Bath toiletry sets

Thank you so much for helping our students!”

The WCU Campus Store is all in, too, and notes that everyone can shop online or in the store without restriction. The store advises that if people are shopping online (, the name “Charity” should be used at the checkout section as well as the address of the store, which is 110 Rosedale, West Chester PA 19383; the delivery method noted should be “pickup in store.”  

WCU has been providing service to students on campus who are determined housing insecure since 2014. The University expanded services to foster youth and formalized its efforts into a campus support program known as the Promise Program thanks to organizer Tori Nuccio. The Promise Program provides support services including monthly programming, priority access to housing, tutoring, jobs on-campus, and much more.

WCU also provides a Resource Pantry for WCU students in need, which provides fresh food from the University’s South Campus and Tanglewood Gardens, as well as a room for toiletries and school supplies, a welcoming intake space for students, and even an area where students can enroll in government benefits called the Benefits Hub. The Resource Pantry organizes a program entitled Operation S.N.O.W. (Student Needs Over Winter). Student organizations commit to collecting and bringing items to the Resource Pantry to keep it well stocked for our Promise student residents over the break. The Resource Pantry resides within the Center for Civic Engagement & Social Impact (CCESI), and is supported by the Office of Financial Aid, our civically-engaged WCU student organizations, as well as very generous donors through the WCU Foundation.

In addition, since the summer of 2016, University Student Housing (USH), which is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation, offers housing scholarships for students who would be forced to return to shelters at the completion of the spring semester.

Community members may contribute to the Promise Program through the WCU Foundation’s webpage,; please note the fund’s listing as The WCU Promise Program.


Back to top of page.