With the launch of Central Student Government’s new Leadership Engagement Scholarship, student leaders will now be able to ease the financial burden of varying club membership dues and receive compensation for their unpaid time commitments, such as the hours of work they put into planning events.
The scholarship can be awarded to undergraduate, graduate and professional student leaders in any aspect of extracurricular campus life, such as Greek life, performing arts, student government and entrepreneurship organizations.
According to the structure outline for the scholarship, an awards commitee from the Office of Student Life will determine the recipients based on several criteria: being full-time students at the University of Michigan, receiving need-based funds from the Office of Financial Aid and either currently being a leader in a student organization or aspiring to be one in the future.
The applicants chosen based on these criteria will then be assessed further on the points of urgency, amount of aid needed and their embodiment of leadership. According to the structure outline, once chosen, the scholarship recipients will make up a leadership cohort that will be required to attend seminar series highlighting organizational development and to serve as mentors for future recipients.
At an information session Friday, CSG President David Schafer, an LSA senior, said the idea of the scholarship manifested from the way student leadership has shaped the University over the years.
“Student organizations are often the incubator for connections for collaboration on the advancement of positive change on this campus,” Schafer said.
Only one non-CSG member, a freshman, attended.
Schafer also said the scholarship is five months in the making and the first of its kind at the University, adding that it seeks to financially aid student leaders regardless of their socioeconomic status. Students need to be already receiving financial aid, however, to be eligible for the scholarship.
CSG Communications Director Joe Shea, a Public Policy senior, also emphasized the importance of extracurricular involvement at the University.
“The Michigan difference — that’s more than just academics, that’s outside the classroom,” Shea said. “As Central Student Government, we want be able to allow students to pursue their interests inside and outside the classroom and that’s what this scholarship is aimed at.”
LSA freshman Alan Chu, the only non-CSG attendee, said his family did everything possible to get him to the University and the financial burden of college tuition makes it difficult to afford extracurricular expenses.
With this scholarship, he believes he would be able to pursue leadership roles in his student organizations.
“There’s a new, emerging student organization that I am currently applying for,” Chu said. “It’s called ‘Michigan is my Home.’ They are helping local impoverished people in Ann Arbor and making care packages. I am looking to seek volunteer director and volunteer chair.”
MIMH is a student club that provides aid for the homeless population by supplying them with educational assistance and vocational training, in addition to care packages.
Schafer said CSG has raised $100,000 so far for the scholarship from donors, but added that they are hoping to reach a total of $500,000 through multiple stakeholders, such as additional donors, alumni and students.
“I think the scholarship initiative really hinges on and rests on the level of student engagement. … It is not only for students, but it is by students,” Schafer said. “It’s one of the first major campus-wide scholarships initiated at this University. It was initiated by students, it’s led by students, it’s for students. That’s very unique.”
According to CSG’s structure outline of the program, the Leadership Engagement Scholarship will award grants ranging between $500 and $2,500, funding a small leadership cohort of 10 to 15 students per year.
The amount of money granted to each student will be decided by the Student Life Awards Committee for the scholarship, made up by the vice president for student life, the dean of students, three faculty or staff members, and at least one student. The committee will consider the amount of work each student puts into their organization based on their time commitment to determine how much money will be granted to them through the scholarship.
Though CSG proposed the scholarship, the Office of Student Life will be administering it while consulting with the Office of Financial Aid.
Schafer said the assembly chose to structure it through the University because the annual turnover of CSG makes it less certain that the program would continue within the assembly only. He added that the assembly will create a five-year plan for the scholarship by the end of this semester.
Schafer also noted the scholarship is endowed, which will help.
“It’s going to pay out for the life; it’s going to be continually renewable,” he said. “With the endowed program, it’s going to be here now; it’s going to be here in 100 years.”
Shea said CSG will also create a platform for student testimonials, so upperclassmen can submit the most influential aspects of their organization and new students can report what they aspire to be a part of on campus.
Schafer emphasized what he described as the importance of paying it forward to future students at the University, saying the scholarship allows a new generation to get involved.
“We have been so impacted by our organizational involvement that it’s paying it forward to a whole new class and generation of students who will come after us to ensure that they have the same opportunities to which we have been afforded,” Schafer said.