The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

Kenan-Biddle grants see little competition, few applicants

Low competition for $5,000 grant

Students interested in getting a $5,000 grant for next year might benefit from a lack of competition.

As of Monday, no applications had been submitted for the Kenan-Biddle Partnership, a three-year, $150,000 collaboration between UNC and Duke University.

The grants — suggested to be about $5,000 — are intended to fund student-led projects in the arts, sciences and humanities on either campus.

An advisory committee of students, the two schools’ respective student body presidents, faculty members and administrators will review the applications and select the grant winners.

But with seven days remaining before the inaugural deadline, the committee had no proposals to review.

“There’s no way you can force people to apply,” said Ron Strauss, executive associate provost and the co-chairman of the program. “This is a first-time program, and some have said, ‘Well, we’ll see how it goes this year.’”

Reminiscent of initiatives such as the Robertson Scholars Program, the partnership asks for collaborative proposals from students of both universities, encouraging cross-campus efforts.

Strauss said the lack of applications so far reflects not the relationship between Duke and UNC students but rather the novelty of the program.

“(The relationship) is very strong, it is very robust, and this program has only been out for a short time,” he said.

As the Nov. 15 deadline draws near, the $50,000 available for this year remains uncontested.

“If the campus is interested and people would like to do this, they will submit,” Strauss said. “My experience with grant applications will suggest that many people don’t turn things in until last minute.”

If the applications do not reach the number expected, Strauss said the program can be adjusted in the future.

“This is a three-year program so if in the first year we don’t receive the kind or number, we can fund them differently from one year to the next,” he said.

Advisory committee representatives from Duke cited ineffective promotion for the current lack of applicants.

“Basically, if people aren’t applying, it seems we haven’t advertised it enough,” said Duke Student Government President Mike Lefevre.

“We think it’s a lack of reaching audiences as well as we could,” said Chris Heltne, director of communication of student affairs at Duke.

Program leaders said they plan to continue publicizing until the application due date, he added.

“We will continue to reach out until students know the money is being put to good efforts. That’s the only obstacle so far, until the projects get up and going,” Heltne said.

As the deadline approaches, Strauss said he remains positive.

“I will be hoping, keeping my fingers crossed, that people will work down to the due date,” he said.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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