More than 100 apply for ASG engagement stipends

Shane McKeon, Reporter

Associated Student Government received 110 applications for its new Student Engagement stipend, a fund that gives money to students with financial need so they can commit more time to pursuing leadership positions on campus.

Erik Zorn, who chairs the committee overseeing the application process, said the committee expected only 50 students to apply for one of 20 available $500 stipends. ASG allocated $10,000 last spring for the stipend fund.

Zorn, a Weinberg senior, said at least three committee members will read each application. The committee will then rank the 110 applicants based on merit and submit that list to the Center for Student Involvement. The office will review the list based on information about the students’ financial needs from the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid.

The 20 students selected will hear from CSI near the end of the quarter, Zorn said.

Applicants responded to three essay questions: how their involvement shapes campus culture, what their involvement means to them and how a stipend will make their involvement more manageable.

Zorn said the committee’s main focus is to “stretch the $10,000 to be the most impactful on campus,” and that it may select a student who is less involved in campus activities over a more-involved student if the stipend can help the former participate more.

“If the stipend isn’t necessarily going to change your involvement that much,” Zorn said, “then the stipend might be better used for someone who may be working less hours, but the stipend will be able to achieve greater things within their work.”

He also said ASG will look to expand the program in the future, including soliciting funding from alumni.

“It certainly shows that there was a lot of demand for this program and that it’s necessary,” Zorn said. “We’re certainly going to be looking into how to expand the program and increase the number of stipends we give out.”

Weinberg sophomore Jourdan Dorrell, who is a member of the committee and has held a work-study job, said she hopes the program will aid both low-income students and help wealthier students understand the time commitment required of low-income and work-study students.

“Giving this stipend is giving about 50 hours of work that you can put towards your organization rather than your work-study job, which for me is almost two months of work,” she said. “The stipend makes known that there are some students that can’t actively participate in student groups as often because they are dedicating nine to 15 hours a week to work-study jobs because they have to.”

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