Last week, College Government (CG) announced the new College Government Fund, which is the remaining $11,000 that former College President H. Kim Bottomly gave to the students in the 2015-2016 academic year. The fund was used for Ideafest and is being put towards the CG Fund.
“Part of the President’s Statement of Intent was, ‘to continue initiatives, similar to Ideafest, as it gives the student body the opportunity to shape the college’s future.’ By implementing the CG Fund, College Government hopes to encourage students to act on goals they have for our campus,” Beebe Hall Senator Irene Ganahl ‘20 said.
CG President Zainab Younus ’17 explained that the fund President Bottomly created was originally voted on in a ballot initiative to compensate resident assistants (RAs) and house presidents (HPs). Once it was announced that the college would begin to pay RAs and HPs a stipend, the money was gifted back to the student body. With the re-gifted money, CG held Ideafest in the spring of 2016. The event gave students an opportunity to brainstorm and propose various projects with the goal of improving the Wellesley community.
“The CG President can decide how to use these funds and I thought it would be best to put it towards what it was originally intended for–funding student led initiatives. I believe that many students on campus have ideas for how to better the larger community, however they may not have the means to implement and execute their projects. These students certainly can run for a ballot initiative to finance their ideas but they would have to wait until April when CG elections are held. Moreover, their idea may not need the full $11,000. A group of Senators and I have created an application process so that those who have ideas for bettering our community are able to do so. The goal is to fund small-scale projects that better the larger Wellesley community; it is like a mini ballot initiative,” Younus said.
The CG Fund will function much like Ideafest, with one major difference: students can apply for a project with a budget at any time during the school year. CG is currently working on a form that students can access at any time, allowing for much more freedom.
“The application will include project goals, a detailed description and timeline of the project and a breakdown of costs. Using this form, students can apply for up to $1,000 of the money,” Ganahl noted.
After that, senators on the CG Funds Allocation Committee, which is still in the process of being formed, will review the application. They will either send back the application with suggestions or it will be voted on in Senate. If a student receives funding for their project, they will be assigned a Senator to work with who will act as their liaison to CG while the project is completed.
Jennifer Wang ’18, an RA in Stone-Davis, hopes that the CG Fund will give students an opportunity to impact the Wellesley community in a more personal way.
“It definitely sounds like a really cool project that people could take advantage of. I haven’t heard that much about it so it would be really great to learn more. But I can see it being something really positive if the money is able to be pulled for year-round projects,” Wang said.
Granahl hopes that students will take advantage of this opportunity to directly impact Wellesley.
“The goal of the CG Fund is to provide a way for students to act on ways they think our campus can be bettered. We know that there are students at Wellesley who have amazing ideas but never thought they could be implemented because of financial reasons. The CG Fund breaks down the financial barrier. The long term goal of the CG Fund is to improve the campus though the people that use it the most and know it the best, the students!” Granahl said.
Though the CG Fund is a similar idea to Ideafest, students are hoping that the re-launching of the Fund will encourage more students to apply.
“I heard about Ideafest when it circulated and I thought it was great. I would have liked to have heard more about what happened with the money and I think it would be really great to use that model to contribute back to the community,” Wang noted.