Student Caucus grants only come around once a semester. They exist to provide financial support to student-initiated projects. Any student has the opportunity to request a grant.
Once a grant has been submitted, the decisions for the funding is made through a process of consensus within the grant allocation committee and then approved by student caucus voting members.
The grants proposed this semester included a campus beautification project, a television in lower gladfelter which would be dedicated to showing the news, an aquaphonics sytem, equipment for the student film association, money for the activist convergence which will take place on campus, tumbling mats and money for the writing center to go on to the International Writing Centers Association and the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing in Baltimore Maryland.
The campus beautification project was submitted by The King of Toys. He is an anonymous student who glues toys in different areas around the campus. His work can be seen on the frame holding the lights as you cross the bridge, in the stairwell of Jensen and various other locations. Many individuals were at caucus to represent him and mentioned it was for his senior art project. It was said that his work is “ not considered vanadlism.”
A grant for a television in lower gladfelter drew much debate. The grant was submitted by senior Elizabeth Bonham. She mentioned that the student body is “disconnected from the surrounding, local, national and global community.” She felt lower gladfelter was a good place because it is the closest the school has to a student commons. Some students argued that the quality of news played on television is horrible while others mentioned that everything could be found on the internet. Bonham envisioned the space as a place to watch presidential debates and addresses.
The aquaphonics system was proposed by senior Pat Arrico. According to his grant proposal an aquaphonics sytem is “an enclosed system in which fish and plants are raised concurrently in an environmentally sound way; the fish water fertilizes the edible plants which can be harvested and eaten safely.” Arricio mentioned that he built an aquaphonics system for his high school. Community members expressed worry about him using the funds, since he has failed in the past to use funds. When caucus grant funds are given, but not used, it goes back into the school’s budget.
A grant for movie making equipment was proposed by the Student Film Association. A handful of community members were upset that they were asking for money for the third straight time, but others said they should get more money then they were initially allotted. With this grant, they expect to buy microphones and camera bags. In the past they have gotten money for HD video cameras.
Money for the activist convergence was asked for by junior Derek Roy. The activist convergence was first held in the fall of 2009. Discussion themes will include activist repression, social spaces, and contemporary anarchist practice; workshops will include a ‘know your rights’ training, a discussion about sexual assault and partner violence, gender issues, and updates about local environmental organizing. The money would pay for the speakers who are coming to the event. “It is about paying the speakers a fair wage for their time.” said sophomore Michael Carter. “Right now we can only pay some speakers 50 dollars and we do not feel right about that.” Multiple students voiced their opinion at the end of caucus that the activist convergence should get more money than they initially were given.
A proposal for tumbling mats was submitted by Quantisha Mason. The mats would be used for the circus, although there use would be available for anyone. Mason’s grant mentioned that “The mats in the gym now are very old. They are held together with duct tape and large sections are still coming apart. The foam patting on the inside of the mats has been beat down to the point that there are indentations.” While the mats are not unsafe to use right now, she mentioned they were “very close to be unsafe.”
The writing center proposed a grant to go to the International Writing Centers Association and the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing in Baltimore Maryland. Caucus members questioned why the whole crew had to go if some of their workers had been to similar conferences before. Crew member Thomas Belmore stated that “it was a crew bonding experience” and that they were “just trying to bum some gas money.”
Final decisions for grants will be made Tuesday the 5th in Caucus.