VSG Senate passes resolution establishing $5,000 student activism fund

The bill seeks to promote student activism and expression by providing funding to registered student organizations for advocacy and demonstrations.


Alexa White

Graphic depicting student activism. (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

Adam Hosein

The VSG Senate passed a resolution on Oct. 19 to establish a student activism fund,  allocating $5,000 of VSG’s budget for registered student organizations on campus to use for activism. The legislation was designed with the goal of fostering student expression on campus.  

Each student organization can use up to $250 for the 2022-23 academic year. These funds will be managed by the VSG Diversity & Inclusion Committee, whose mission is to represent the diverse perspectives of the Vanderbilt community and foster student activism, per the VSG website. D&I Committee Chair Shreya Gupta, a junior, said she hopes the resources provided by the bill remove financial barriers to expression on campus.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all that clubs will do with these funds,” Gupta said.

Gupta said VSG will be creating an AnchorLink form to allow organizations to apply for the funding likely within the next week. The D&I Committee will also use the information collected from the form to coordinate the logistics of distributing funds with the Student Services Office.

“This year is really the pilot year of having a separate fund to support student activism,” Speaker of the VSG Senate Angela Yan, a junior, said. “I’m excited to see how this plays out, and we will make modifications throughout the year as needed.”

VSG began working on the activism fund bill during the Spring 2022 semester after speaking with student organizations about their needs. The first draft of the legislation was created by the VSG Senate in early September. After repeated revisions, the bill was passed two weeks later.

“We came back this past Wednesday with an edited bill aligned with Senate feedback and were able to pass the bill this time,” Gupta said.

Senior and Co-President of Vanderbilt Prison Project Alejandro Moncayo said he was excited about the new fund and hopes it will enable student groups to be more vocal on campus. 

“The current administration in the Vanderbilt Student Government has done well to put their money where their mouth is,” Moncayo said in a message to The Hustler. “There is always room for more, but this is an undeniably good start.”

According to VSG Vice President Ari Sasson, VSG collaborated with various branches of Vanderbilt administration including the Student Affairs Office to add language to the bill to ensure that the usage of the funds aligns with the Vanderbilt Community Creed, VSG’s Mission Statement and Vanderbilt Freedom of Expression policy. Furthermore, the bill prevents usage of the funds to inflict harm on specific students, avoiding personal and organizational liability for hosting organizations, the university or VSG. 

“We firmly believe that both transformative education and research really thrive in an environment where people can freely explore ideas and have discussions and civil discourse even on various controversial issues,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said during an interview with the Hustler in May. 

Sasson said he was excited about the bill’s potential to promote the diversity of student ideas on campus.

“This bill is crucial for repositioning the role of VSG in advocating for student voices,” Sasson said.