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Student Enrichment Fund gives grants to four students

For the second time this semester, students will travel around the United States thanks to grants from UNC’s student government.

The student enrichment fund — part of Student Body President Mary Cooper’s platform — awarded $1,225 to four students this month with the help of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

Money for previous awards came from Cooper and Student Body Vice President Zealan Hoover’s University stipend.

Selected from a pool of 18 applicants, winners Burcu Bozkurt, Apurva Oza, Jessica Smith and Ganesh Raj received grants ranging from $300 to $335.

Raj was the only student to receive a joint Golden Key and student government grant.

Hoover said the honor society was one of the first groups to express a desire to donate to the enrichment grants.

“They are an example of just one funding strategy we are pursuing,” Hoover said. “We are excited to have them on board.”

Adam Jutha, student body secretary, said they plan for the partnership with the honor society to be a long-term strategy.

“Now that they have finished funding one student in this round, we will see how that process works and go from there,” Jutha said.

Senior astrophysics major Oza will use the grant to attend and present his undergraduate research at the American Astronomical Society conference in Texas.

“This is where all the scientific breakthroughs are happening,” Oza said. “It’s incredible to be at a place like that.”

The conference will feature Nobel Laureates in the field of astrophysics, Oza said.

Sophomore Smith will use the grant to attend the 2012 National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, D.C. Without the grant, Smith said she wouldn’t have been able to attend the $280 conference.

“I was thrilled because I really wanted to go to this conference, but there aren’t a lot of funds for undergrads to go to conferences,” Smith said.

Buzkurt, another grant recipient, will attend the Starting Bloc Institute on Social Innovation in Los Angeles, a program designed to promote socially responsible business practices.

Raj will use his grant to participate in the student-run Social Enterprise Conference at Harvard Business School, a forum on innovative social ideas.

Jutha said student government is pleased that the number of applicants remained steady for this round because it shows that students are still interested.

He added that student government will work with the University’s development office on a larger fundraising campaign next semester.

The deadline for the next round of grants is Feb. 1.

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