At the Board of Regents meeting Thursday afternoon, LSA senior David Schafer, Central Student Government president, announced the creation of a new scholarship at the University of Michigan for undergraduate and graduate students involved in campus organizations.
CSG, in partnership with the University’s Office of Student Life, will launch the Leadership Engagement Scholarship program by September 2017.
The scholarship will provide a group of student leaders with financial support, addressing the cost of membership as well as providing compensation for the unpaid nature of the time commitment.
Schafer noted that lack of financial support can be a large barrier when students are considering getting involved in an organization. He said he believes CSG itself is not representative of the diversity on campus because of such obstacles.
“Seventy-five percent of CSG members come from a household from a total income of over $100,000,” Schafer said. “This simply does not reflect the experiences of many students on campus.”
Along with the low socioeconomic status diversity, Schafer cited a recent internal survey of CSG which found that the body is mostly male and white and 37.2 percent of members come from homes earning more than $250,000 a year.
The scholarship will support up to 15 student leaders with a fundraising goal of $500,000, of which $100,000 has already been raised through donor pledges. In consultation with the Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Student Life will administer the scholarship, and it will be available to all organizations on campus.
During his remarks, Schafer asked the board to consider donating to the scholarship.
He also noted that it aligns with the University’s current Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, which aims in part to reduce financial barriers of access to campus life.
“The scholarship is consistent with the story of our University,” Schafer said. “All of us know Michigan students are the future leaders of this world.”
According to the Student Life website, recipients will be expected to serve as “graduated mentors” to younger students in the future.
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman (R) commended Schafer on his commitment to providing students more opportunity.
“This is your absolute best yet,” Newman said. “I think what you are doing is the right thing, and I look forward to helping you in any way possible. This is the first time in all my years on the board we have had someone talk about this.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Office of Financial Aid would be the office administering the scholarship. The Office of Financial Aid will be consulted in administering the scholarship.