Experience Vanderbilt, a student organization dedicated to providing undergraduate students on financial aid with the funds to participate in extracurricular activities on campus, will begin giving out the first round of grants this month. According to a press release from the group, 1,140 students applied for funding and 109 students will be receiving grants in the first phase of distributions.
“We are thrilled with the response we received from students and student organizations. This number of applicants clearly demonstrates a need to provide funding to help support students in their engagement in extracurricular activities,” Katherine Nash, Experience Vanderbilt Co-Chair, said in a press release.
According to the press release, the largest number of requests for funding came for Greek life, which Experience Vanderbilt Co-Chair Ryan Connor said in the press release was not surprising. Other categories for funding include arts and culture, club sports and recreation and service.This year, students were only able to apply for funding for one extracurricular activity, and only up to $500, though the organization would like to allow students to apply for more grants in the future.
“In future application cycles, we will likely consider allowing students to apply for multiple experiences so that we understand the breadth of involvement rather than only allowing a student to select one of many experiences they may be involved in,” Connor said.
Last year, Vanderbilt alumnus Alex Taylor pledged to donate $50,000 to Experience Vanderbilt if 75 percent of the senior class donated to the Senior Class Fund. That donation was made, and a large portion of that money is now being distributed. Approximately $35,000 will be given out in scholarships during the first round of funding. With the first phase of grants in the process of being distributed, Experience Vanderbilt is looking to increase funding for future grants. According to Nash, there’s a sense among student organizations that the Experience Vanderbilt program can transform the undergraduate experience.
“I want anyone who wants to go on an ASB trip, join a sorority, or go rafting with WilSkills to be able to go without financial consideration,” Nash said. “We hope this program creates a new ‘culture of giving’ within the Vanderbilt community, whether that be students, faculty or staff.”