Nobody crosses the Cistern without a little help along the way. Indeed, it takes the dedicated support of faculty, peers, administrators and family members to see students through the four years leading up to commencement.

Rénard Harris

That’s why programs like Crossing the Cistern are there. Operated out of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Crossing the Cistern is a $4,000 scholarship program serving rising sophomores and juniors who have a minimum of 30 earned credit hours and a GPA between 2.0 and 2.4. But beyond monetary support, the program has several additional components aimed at encouraging students, including academic support, monthly seminars, alumni mentors and a spring internship.

“Crossing the Cistern is a one-year momentum program to address the scholastic struggles of all students, with a particular focus on African American, Latin American, Asian American and Native American students,” says Rénard Harris, associate vice president of the Office of Institutional Diversity and the College’s chief diversity officer. “The program is a demonstration of a shared responsibility with the goal of increasing diversity by taking care of who is in the house, making sure they graduate and creating a sincere relationship that will remind and encourage them to tell their story.”

RELATED: Find out more about how the Crossing the Cistern program is changing lives.

And now the program itself is getting some support of its own: Thanks to the Cron Family Foundation, Crossing the Cistern has its first philanthropic contribution since it launched in August 2017.

“It’s our honor to be a part of the program and its mission,” says a spokesman for the Cron Family Foundation, which also created the Cron Family Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund at the College in 2014. “The hope is that, by supporting the Crossing the Cistern program, we are opening opportunities for these young men and women – not just during their undergraduate careers, but in their future careers after graduation.”

That’s certainly the plan.

“The Cron Family Foundation’s gift to the Crossing the Cistern program is extraordinary because it gives us the opportunity to further our mission in the following way: At the end of the academic year, in collaboration with Alumni Affairs, we will take a Southeastern regional tour, meeting CofC alumni whose occupations align with the students’ majors,” explains Harris. “Through this aspect of the program, we want the Crossing the Cistern students to see the opportunities available after graduation in their respective fields.”

After all, crossing the Cistern is just the beginning.

Featured image: Students in the 2018-19 Crossing the Cistern cohort. (Photo provided)