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UNC student government launches student enrichment fund

The opportunity for students to attend off-campus events this year will come straight out of two student leaders’ pockets, at least initially.

The Student Enrichment Fund, a project launched by student government on Saturday, is being funded primarily by the monthly stipend Student Body President Mary Cooper receives as president, coupled with a portion of her vice president Zealan Hoover’s stipend.

The total amount of money available through the fund will be $5,000 for its first year, $3,600 of which will come from Cooper’s stipend.

But Hoover said he and Cooper are actively seeking donations from campus departments, and have already received $350 from one.

“It’s one of the few areas where a $200 donation can have a very direct impact,” Hoover said.

Student Body Treasurer Zach Dexter is the only member of the executive branch aside from Cooper and Hoover who receives a monthly stipend.

The Student Enrichment Fund allows students to apply for grants to attend off-campus events such as speeches, conferences or other academic or extracurricular opportunities.

One scholarship with an expected value of $200 to $400 will be awarded to one student or a group of two students each month.

Groups larger than two people are not permitted to apply for cost reasons.

All applications will be considered anonymously.

The program is intended to fund a wide variety of enrichment activities to students. For that reason, the application process is fairly open-ended, Cooper said.

“You don’t want to limit anybody.”

The fund is one of the “big three” ideas featured in Cooper’s campaign platform. The other two were an expansion of CCI printing and a flat-rate taxi service.

The fund will be entirely student-run. A committee composed of eight student government members will review the program’s first wave of applications on Nov. 1.

A mentor program will pair underclassmen with upperclassmen to work on the project. Hoover said he hopes the project will continue successfully after this year’s seniors graduate.

The fund’s organizers said they have no idea how many applicants to expect in November.

“It’s definitely got students talking and thinking about opportunities,” Student Body Secretary Adam Jutha said.

“I can definitely say we’ve had a lot of buzz.”

Despite uncertainty about future funding, Cooper said she is optimistic about the program.

“It’s exactly the way we wanted it to be.”

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