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Student Stipend to Offer Greater Accessibility to SCIF Grants

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The Sustainability Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) is for everyone and anyone interested in pursuing funded sustainability projects. In an effort to live up to this statement, SCIF is introducing a student stipend that will offer financial compensation to students who aren’t able to pursue an independent project due to financial or personal barriers.

While the program currently awards several grants throughout the year, all grant costs are required to go toward project expenses. Typically, students must participate in SCIF projects as an extracurricular or co-curricular activity rather than a paid experience. This fact made the program less accessible to some students. As highlighted by Bennion Center staff, students with more financial constraints are deterred from applying to the program. For a student who may need to work extra shifts in their free time to make ends meet, pursuing a project that does not
come with financial compensation can often be out of reach. This reality is especially poignant for historically marginalized or vulnerable student groups, decreasing the overall accessibility and equity of the program.

Starting fall of 2023, SCIF applicants are eligible to receive compensation in the form of a project stipend. Students interested in pursuing medium or large grants may request between $150 and $500 per semester and will be awarded depending on individual circumstances. The application asks each student’s requested amount, the length and timeline of their projects, an impact question, as well as a few optional short answers. The impact portion seeks to determine how significantly a stipend will impact a student’s ability to pursue a SCIF project. The question requests a rating from “Insignificantly” (the student will definitely undergo the project regardless of a stipend) to “Very Significantly” (the student will not be able to undergo the project). This application piece will allow the SCIF Selection Committee to gauge the necessity of stipends for all applicants, empowering them to allocate funds in the most effective manner.

In addition, the application features a few optional short answer questions where applicants can write out their personal or financial circumstances, time constraints imposed by their projects or ways in which their stipend will be used. Applicants are free to write as much or as little as they’d like, or they can choose to not answer the question. The space invites participants to describe any additional details they’d like to convey so all factors relating to the stipend can be holistically reviewed.

The stipend initiative was reviewed by the Bennion Center and approved by the two governing bodies of the program, the SCIF Allocations Committee and ASUU’s Sustainability Board. Keep an eye out for the stipend option as you plan to apply for a SCIF grant.