The University has given the Student Association $20,000 to be allocated directly to students and student organizations involved in community service and service-learning projects.
The purpose of this grant is to “create new opportunities for ideas to emerge, create community partnerships and engage more students,” said Peter Konwerski, associate vice president and chief administrative officer for Student and Academic Support Services. A student-run commission of members selected by the SA will accept applications and present their recommendations for funding to Konwerski and other members of SASS for final approval.
SA President Julie Bindelglass said the commission will begin allocating grants by the end of the semester.
“One of the biggest challenges students face is funds and administrative support. We want to support students who have an idea and don’t know how to go about getting a grant to do it,” Bindelglass said.
SASS has committed to supporting this initiative for next semester, but has not determined funding beyond this year.
SASS will “evaluate [the grant program] going forward based on success of the year. We are looking forward to see how it supports service learning and community service initiatives. We will be looking at the impact of grants on campus and in the community,” Konwerski said.
The number of students or student organizations who will receive funding is still to be determined.
“Our goal is to consider as many as possible and make sure the money is having a positive impact. The actual number depends on the quality of grant applications,” Bindelglass said.
The SA is currently accepting applications for people interested in participating in the commission. The commission will be composed primarily of students, but Konwerski said there is a possibility that a faculty member will be on the commission as well. Applications for those interested in serving on the commission will be due Oct. 23.
In a similarly specialized program in 2007, GW officials provided the SA with $25,000 a year for two years to fund “socially responsible initiatives.” The SA recently voted to discontinue the initiative for this school year, as it had run out of funding.
Bindelglass said this fund is different from the socially responsible initiatives commission.
“[This fund] is more specific in that it is driven towards public service,” Bindelglass said. “It has financial and administrative support as well. It’s not just for student organizations; it’s open to individual students who have great ideas.”