Any faculty member, staff member or student from either university is eligible to apply for up to $5,000 from the fund. The money must be used to support a program that would initiate or enhance collaborative projects between the two schools, said Eric Mlyn, director of the Robertson Scholars program.
"We hope this will encourage people to reach across the 11 miles," Mlyn said.
The Robertson Scholars program was initiated this year with a $24 million grant from Julian and Josie Robertson.
Thirty Robertson Scholars, 15 from each university, will receive full scholarships annually. The recipients will spend one full semester at the other school as a part of the program. The collaboration fund is the third aspect of the Robertson Scholars program, Mlyn said. The effect of the programs enacted with grant money could have a more widespread effect than the full scholarships.
Examples of faculty or staff programs that could be eligible for grant money include joint course development, conferences or research, Mlyn said.
He added that students may apply for programs such as joint programming or student activities but said any other creative ideas that enhance cooperation between the schools are encouraged.
"It is important to note that this is open to faculty, staff and students, not just Robertson Scholars," Mlyn said.
Applications for grants are due by Oct. 15, and decisions are to be made in early November. Specific details of the application process are available at http://www.robertsonscholars.org/fund.
Mlyn said he is confident the fund will produce many exciting programs on campus, even in its first year.
Many Robertson Scholars said they feel it is important for everyone at the two schools, not just the 30 scholarship recipients, to collaborate on projects.
Robert Beasley, a Robertson Scholar from UNC, said more people should have the opportunity to cooperate on projects with people from the other school. "We're doing community service together as a way of bringing our group together," Beasley said.
Duke scholar Ana Lucia Hurtado said the fund is a good idea but that she is worried the intense rivalry will get in the way. "The problem is that it depends how people will react to the goal of the program."
Hurtado said that even though the scholars became close on the retreat and will continue to do so this year, they will still disagree about basketball. "That's the fun part of the rivalry," Hurtado said. "Even we won't let go of that."
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