The Public Service Grant Commission received more than 25 applications for $20,000 in grant money that will be given to students with their own service-learning projects, an administrator said this week.
The Division of Student and Academic Support Services announced the grant program in October, saying it was designed to support the Michelle Obama Service Challenge for service projects that would not have been financially possible otherwise. The application opened in late January, and a commission of four students selected by the Student Association has been reviewing the projects for funding, said Jacqueline Hackett, the Presidential Administrative Fellow for the Center of Civic Engagement and Public Service.
Hackett supervises the student commission, comprised of three seniors and one junior, that is charged with reviewing projects.
More than 10 applicants have already received funding for their proposals. A variety of groups have applied so far, including Greek-letter organizations, academic classes, groups of friends, and more traditional service-based groups.
Hackett said the applicants requested between $130 and $10,000, but no single proposal has received more than $1,550 for their project.
“The members of the Public Service Grant Commission work with applicants to improve their service projects if they are not comfortable funding the original application – no one has been turned down, but some groups are working to revise their proposals,” Hackett said.
She characterized the individual projects as “diverse.” They included raising awareness about Haiti, an adolescent obesity prevention effort, international public health, events with senior citizens, mentoring local youth, and many others.
Jake Miner, a sophomore majoring in Middle East studies, submitted an application that is currently under review. Miner applied on behalf of Grassroots Project, a D.C. nonprofit organization that runs an HIV/AIDS awareness program headed by and comprised of student athletes in the District. His project would support the organization’s effort to bring 10 kids to the World Cup in June to participate in a cross-cultural program with the organization’s sister program in South Africa.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for money… It’s a student-driven project, it has to do with D.C., and has an international connection. This year pushing public service at GW, this project helps the community and would connect these kids to the world,” Miner said. He requested $10,000, saying he knew it was “not realistic, but I would put it out there.” The cost per child to go on the trip is $3,000, so the request would only cover at least three students.
After asking “everyone and their mother,” as Miner said, he hoped the grant commission would be able to supplement a donation of 50 tickets from another organization to cover travel for students from the South African and D.C. programs to the World Cup.
Hackett said the commission has received applications for long-term service projects, but those have yet to receive funding. The commission has been “able to encourage and assist with new projects and help improve campus traditions. The grants have been very successful in cultivating new ideas and allowing students who are not already involved with service to try something they’re passionate about,” Hackett said.
The projects that have already received funding will be completed by the May 1 deadline for the now finished Obama service challenge, and will be counted in the final hour tally.
Students can still apply for the remaining funds, and the applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.