The Grand Rapids Community College Student Alliance discussed several budget updates and the possibility of starting a scholarship for students at today’s meeting.
The meeting started with Student Alliance President Cale Merdzinski mentioning the Student Leadership Banquet which will take place on March 29, in which qualifying GRCC students can receive one of seven awards. Friday (Feb. 23) will be the last day for nominations that must be sent in no later than 5 p.m. Individuals who are interested submitting a nomination must fill out this form for each award.
“They’re all leadership awards,” Merdzinski said. “They are given out for different types of leadership whether you have been an active leader and making sure everyone is feeling welcome and comfortable on your campus and you seem engaged.”
The International Student Organization requested approval for the International Student leadership conference at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. There will be six students and their advisor who will be attending the conference. The trip will be from March 14 until March 18 and will cost a total of $3,888, which will cover hotel expenses, airfare, car rental and transportation. Each individual will cover their own food and souvenir funds. Their allocation was approved.
Next to be discussed was Psi Beta’s proposal for attending the Midwest Psychological Association Conference from March 11- 14 for four students and one faculty member. The cost for the trip will be $1,875, which will include the conference fee, transportation, hotel expenses and food. The Psi Beta members were unable to attend the Student Alliance meeting, but their proposal was approved.
For the last proposal, Student Alliance requested $2,000 from the extra allocation budget to start a sponsorship for GRCC students. The sponsorship was created in 2013 by previous student alliance members and was used again in 2016. Their current remaining budget amount is $9,752.36, and they will be spending $8,000 of the budget to sponsor Scholarfest which is an annual event that honors GRCC philanthropic leaders and highlights the achievements of students, faculty and staff. The event will be held on March 27 at the DeVos Place. Student Alliance will be bring between six and eight students to this event to see how they can help more students in the future.
“This money will be contributing to the scholarships here so we will be contributing to the scholarship foundation and use it to help students,” said Student Alliance Vice President of Operations, Kyezie Bwanangela. “This money will go towards the discretionary fund, which will help students in need. There are students who…who apply to so many loans to pay their tuition fees, so it will be helping the students who apply to a (huge) amount of loans.”
The extra funds will assist in donating a total of $10,000 and helping the GRCC Foundation Scholarship to increase the amount of scholarships.
“We are using a lot of our Student Alliance budget,” Merdzinski said. “As a student government we get a lot of budget which I feel like it really comes down to the e-board to create new ways to spend it appropriately and spend it on current students.”
The meeting ended with Merdzinski expressing how important the Creating Connections breakfast was to GRCC. During the breakfast, GRCC scholarship recipients and scholarship donors were able to sit down and talk to one another. Some of the recipients give speeches about receiving these scholarships and what it means to them.
As an effort to establish the importance of creating connections like these, Student Alliance is trying to remove the barriers for international student scholarships when they enroll at GRCC. This way, future students who will be attending GRCC will no longer have to worry about paying tuition that is possibly higher than out-of-state tuition.
“We want to figure out if there is anything else we can do and what we can do to make the GRCC experience better,” Merdzinski said.
The next Student Alliance meeting will be held at 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on March 15 in the Student Center multi-purpose room.