Photo from Alaina Housley Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund website
November marked the one-year remembrance of the Borderline Shooting and loss of Pepperdine student Alaina Housley. As December marks National Giving Month, the Pepperdine community has the opportunity to participate in giving through the Alaina Housley Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund.
The Alaina Housley scholarship was created as a part of The Pepperdine Fund in November 2018, soon after her passing. Then-Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton, who initiated the scholarship fund, said that it was something Pepperdine could do to honor Alaina’s life.
“Pepperdine, in the face of tragedy, doesn’t like to sit still; we look for things that we can do,” Benton said. “When a life comes into our community, and it is extinguished prematurely and tragically, a scholarship fund is just one of several things that we can do.”
Alaina’s scholarship sponsored three students for the 2019-2020 academic year, Annie Chambers, Seaver class giving officer of The Pepperdine Fund, said. Of those students, two are studying in Malibu and the third is abroad in Florence — where Alaina was planning on going abroad. Alaina’s scholarship is a need-based scholarship.
“Students are also selected on their positive contributions to their communities,” Chambers said. “So really just those students that are making a difference here at Pepperdine.”
The plan for the scholarship fund is to sponsor two students (one in Malibu and one in Florence) every academic year, Hung Le, associate vice president and university registrar, said. This year, Alaina’s scholarship had extra funds and was able to sponsor another student. The scholarships awarded in Malibu are also renewable, Le added.
Anyone is able to donate to the Alaina Housley Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund through the Pepperdine Fund, Chamber said. She said that her role as giving officer includes educating students on giving back to Pepperdine.
“We emphasize that students give back to their Pepperdine passion,” Chambers said. “So Alaina’s scholarship is one of those passion areas.”
Junior Brandon Easley said he chose to give to Alaina’s scholarship on Give2Pepp Day. He said that although he was abroad in Florence during the Borderline Shooting, he saw how the tragic event affected the close-knit Pepperdine community.
“Yes, it affected me, but it really affected a lot of my friends who were on campus and her family and her friends,” Easley said. “I just thought that it was a really important scholarship to give back to.”
Pepperdine’s scholarship fund in honor of Alaina is separate from the Alaina’s Voice Foundation — created by her family, Arik, Hannah and Alex Housley. Although Le, who is a family friend to the Housleys, said Alaina’s parents Arik and Hannah were able to meet to the Malibu scholarship recipients when they visited Pepperdine for the one-year remembrance of Alaina’s passing this past November.
Le said he is thankful for the opportunity that Pepperdine has to honor and remember Alaina.
“My heart still aches for the loss of Alaina; my heart still aches for the Housley family,” Le said. “The scholarship is just one thing, but another part of Alaina’s legacy is a call for being present, a call for being kind, a call for taking responsibility for our community and to use what we have to make life more abundant for others. That is Alaina’s legacy. That is her voice. So, I am thankful that the scholarship is a tangible way to add to her voice.”
Contact Channa Steinmetz via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter: @ChannaSteinmetz