By Baker Tilney
The ASSU’s Community Action Board (CAB) recently launched a grants initiative to fund programming that promotes more extensive collaboration between diverse groups on campus.
The CAB, which was established as a permanent institution of the ASSU last year, is a coalition of 23 students representing various communities, including different ethnic and religious groups. CAB members collaborate to support student organizations, with a particular focus on understanding and fostering diversity.
President John Hennessy allocated $5,000 to the CAB to sponsor the grants initiative, which is named the Community Partnership Program. Through the program, student groups and organizations can collaborate to submit proposals for projects, with accepted proposals receiving up to $500 from the CAB.
ASSU President Robbie Zimbroff ’12 M.A. ’13 expressed hope that the program will get more students involved in diversity initiatives and dialogue. Zimbroff said that, in his discussions with the President’s Office about creating the grants, both sides agreed that it is “important for people to think about what diversity means on campus.”
“College is a very unique experience where a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds and walks of life come together,” Zimbroff said. “We should spend some time taking advantage of everything that exists around us.”
According to Zimbroff, the grants are primarily intended to fund groups that have not yet contributed to diversity programming.
“We don’t want to just fund a program where people who are already incredibly active in community centers are just doing more programming,” Zimbroff said. “There’s an emphasis on bringing new people to the table.”
Zimbroff said that his own experiences with diversity motivated his enthusiasm about the program, citing his unintentional draw into Ujamaa, the African-Diaspora-theme dorm, as having changed his view on diversity at Stanford. After living in Ujamaa during his sophomore year, Zimbroff served as a resident assistant in the dorm for two years.
“The people who I’m looking to target in this program are people who might not be so lucky to have the draw determine for them that they get the opportunity to be exposed to diversity,” Zimbroff said.
Holly Fetter ’13, co-chair of the CAB, said that ethnic theme dorms like Ujamaa might be model applicants for grants.
“One of the examples used a lot is, ‘How do we get different ethnic themed dorms to collaborate?’ or, ‘How do we get students who live in Stern but not in Zapata to engage with Zapata?’” Fetter said.
The grant application, which is currently available online, stresses that projects should bring together communities that do not often interact with each other. Successful applicants will also be required to meet with the grant committee after their program’s completion to discuss the outcome and share any insights they have gained.
The CAB accepts applications for grants on a rolling basis, though applicants must submit proposals at least three weeks before the planned event date. Funding will be granted in varied amounts, and Zimbroff said that the number of projects that will be funded has yet to be determined.
“The metric is not how many programs are being put on, it’s about the quality of them,” Zimbroff said. But [something like] 10 programs with $500 each per year, seems like a reasonable amount and something that could hopefully touch a lot of students.”