Student Union officially launches opportunity fund

| Staff Reporter

The Opportunity Fund, a reserve used to afford stipends to qualifying low-income students to finance extracurricular activities, was launched by Student Union and Student Financial Services Nov. 27.

Qualifying students were contacted by Student Financial Services (SFS) Monday about their eligibility to access the fund. SFS is giving students information on how they can use the fund, which SU is supplementing with details on specific activities for which the fund can be used.

Because this is the pilot year for the fund, Student Union is focusing on data collection and analysis. In addition to monitoring how students choose to use the fund, SU will also be sending out a survey near the end of the semester to get users’ feedback on ways the fund can improve.

Additionally, Student Union will soon be releasing initiatives to hear student input on uses for the SU savings account, which currently has approximately $370,000 of unallocated funds.

“My hope is that we will be able to put some of those funds toward the Opportunity Fund, as well,” SU President and junior Sydney Robinson said.

Robinson looks forward to seeing the Opportunity Fund at work.

“It’s really exciting to watch it actually come into effect after years of work put into it,” Robinson said. “It’s followed exec boards, and it’s finally being implemented… and growing it in the future will be so exciting.”

Opportunity Fund co-chair and freshman Gwen Klein is also awaits seeing how the Opportunity Fund takes form.

“Student Union is looking to prevent money being the obstacle that disables students from participating in clubs and also looking to expand the fund and advance the program in further years to come,” Klein said.

Overall, the Opportunity Fund Task Force hopes to see as many students as possible receive the access they need through the fund.

“I’d like to see anyone who needs aid to have access to it and also have access to as much as they do need,” Klein said. “Obviously, we’re hoping to increase our budget so more students can benefit from increased stipends to cover extracurricular costs.”