ASSU approves $70K in spring grants

The ASSU Undergraduate Senate’s Appropriations Committee awarded approximately $70,000 in grants to 18 general fees student groups for spring events in the second round of the Senate’s new grant program.

The committee will present their proposals at the Feb. 5 Senate meeting in advance of a Senate vote to authorize the grants’ allocation.

The committee received complete applications from 30 groups requesting nearly $150,000 in total. It recommended a disbursement of $69,117.42, in total, to 18 of the 30 groups. Although the Senate originally planned to allocate $40,000 to spring quarter events, senators voted to increase the maximum allocation to $75,000 after receiving an unexpectedly high number of applications.

During the winter quarter round, the Senate received 20 applications and allocated almost $50,000 in grants.

Appropriations committee member Daniela Olivos ’15 said that the committee needed an extra week to make decisions about spring grants because it was difficult to schedule interviews with so many student groups.

According to Olivos, the committee used the same criteria to evaluate grant applications that they used in winter quarter.

“We weren’t looking at how much money we had,” she said. “We tried to take each application at face value. Even though we had a budget that we could have gone up to, we didn’t think that we could be more or less lenient.”

Grant amounts ranged from $225 to almost $10,000, with Colleges Against Cancer receiving the largest grant for their annual Relay for Life event. The average grant was approximately $3,900.

Adrian Bonifacio ’13 M.A. ’13, president of Kayumanggi, a Filipino dance troupe, requested almost $9,000 for the group’s annual showcase. The group received about $3,300.

“We’re going to use it towards new things for the event,” Bonifacio said. “We wanted to invest in costumes and have live music for the first time. It’s an old event, but we’re going to revamp it.”

Nathan Cheung ’14, vice president of the Stanford Chinese Music Ensemble, requested $2,150 for the ensemble’s spring concert and received almost $1,900. Cheung said that he determined the amount of money to apply for by thinking of what improvements could be made to the event and calculating their costs.

“This concert is sort of the prime event for our group, so we wanted to invite artists, we wanted to see if we could get additional instruments and we also factored in recordings, food and uniforms,” Cheung said.

While most of the grant requests were for events for Stanford students, Olivos said that the Senate received several requests for events directed towards high school students. Though these events did not meet the Senate’s criteria of being open to all Stanford students, Olivos said the Senate will look into providing alternative funding for those types of events in the future.

“We noticed that there is a need for a philanthropy grant or some kind of process for groups doing that kind of programming,” she said. “We definitely are thinking about the future and how that could be incorporated.”

The Senate will be collecting feedback from groups involved in the grant application process and will pass on their recommendations to next year’s Senate.

“We definitely don’t want this to be a one-time thing, just because it was so successful for certain groups this year,” Olivos said.

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