With the Kenan-Biddle Partnership gearing up for a second year, former grant recipients said the relationship between UNC and Duke University is stronger after the inaugural effort.
The program allots $50,000 annually between 10 group projects that are proposed by teams of UNC and Duke students.
“Last year, 10 teams formed that were bi-campus to work on projects that didn’t exist before,” said Ron Strauss, executive associate provost and chief international officer.
“For the amount of the investment, there is a lot of bang for the buck for this project.”
Last year, 91 projects were submitted for grant approval. Only 10 projects were chosen, which ranged from contemporary poetry to sustainable agriculture.
“I was impressed by the quantity and the quality of the applications last year,” said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke University.
For some students, the grant opened up opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“We would have never met otherwise,” said Duke junior Praveen Tummalapalli about members of his group, the Bhutanese Empowerment Project, which was made up of students from both campuses.
Another group used the grant to plan a weeklong celebration of biodiversity conservation called Primate Palooza. Members said they connected their project to the Jane Goodall appearance at Duke in March.
Isaac Jaben, a UNC student and member of the Primate Palooza group, said having access to Duke’s Lemur Center was invaluable for his project.
“It was the only place like it in the world,” Jaben said.
“It was fun to meet students who shared a common interest,” Jaben added. “Having students from both campuses strengthened the group as a whole.”
The grant money from the Kenan-Biddle project also allowed programs to expand their efforts into new areas
Santiago Beltran, a member of The Community Empowerment Fund, said giving Duke co-ownership of the program allowed students to expand into Durham.
Though Jaben said there was a fair bit of friendly rivalry, Duke and UNC found no problem in collaborating on the projects.
Moneta said that while the project is beneficial to both schools, they already had a relationship that went beyond a basketball rivalry.
“UNC and Duke have a terrific relationship,” Moneta said.
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