In April, the ASSU Executive disbursed $8,407 in grants to students who proposed ideas that addressed specific areas of student life targeted by the ASSU Executive. Among those areas were Student Health and Wellness, Work to End Sexual Misconduct/Relationship Abuse, Campus Sustainability, and Campus Unity.
Former ASSU Executive Angelina Cardona ’11 explained the main idea behind the program, saying it was intended “to empower students to come to the ASSU with their ideas and for us [to] provide both administrative, structural, and financial assistance for their projects/ideas.”
A committee of members from the executive cabinet reviewed the 16 submitted applications and eventually settled on funding seven of them. Three of the seven recipients planned environmental projects like the sustainable fashion show, while others focused on service outreach or intellectual engagement.
Ryan Peacock, a graduate student in chemical engineering and member of the ASSU Executive cabinet, stated, “The specific proposals were chosen on a variety of criteria, mostly based around potential impact to the community, cost effectiveness, and how innovative the idea [was].”
Cardona listed some of the factors considered in selecting recipients: “Long term impact, [being] in line with our vision for the year, [providing] a benefit to our campus community, well thought out, collaborative, passion for the topic, and ability to execute the idea.”
The largest grant was $1,760. It was awarded to the sustainable fashion show which took place in late April. Stanford Night Outreach received $1,750 and plans to contribute those funds to the student-run homeless shelter it is currently trying to develop.
When asked about financial accountability for the groups, Peacock stated, “We will be doing a close monitoring of their expenditures.”
All groups must remain compliant to the discretionary spending rules in the joint by-laws and are therefore expected to disclose their spending to the ASSU Executive if the Executive is not already directly reimbursing for the expenditure.
Recently elected ASSU President Michael Cruz ’12 explained that these grants comprised both “one-time initiatives” and “permanent organizations.” He stated however, that the grants, “…are meant to act as a launching pad for these projects, not a source of a permanent funding.”
**Big Ideas at Stanford
Danny Crichton ’11 received $750 from the executive action grants program to host an event called “Big Ideas” with Adam Adler ’12. The event will also receive funding from the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education.
“The Stanford 2020: Visions of Tomorrow Symposium will be an evening event featuring 6-8 faculty members from across the university delivering ten to twelve minute lectures on their ‘big ideas,’” explained Crichton.
“The goal is to get students thinking about how their academic work connects to solving human society’s most challenging problems,” he continued.
Crichton hopes that students of all classes will attend the event, but especially encourages attendance among freshmen and seniors. He said, “we want [freshmen] to think about research and big ideas early in their Stanford careers, but also seniors since they are about to go into the ‘real world.’”
Ultimately, Crichton hopes that students will get to see a broad spectrum of intellectual thought. “The purpose is to raise the intellectual dialogue on campus by having an exciting and electrifying event about the vastly different areas of study available at Stanford,” he stated.
Speakers scheduled for the event include Professors Ian Morris, Mehran Sahami, and Abbas Milani.
Crichton applauds the executive action grants program. He believes it provides students with an opportunity to execute ideas that are “somewhat rare in terms of frequency,” and that therefore would not require the creation of new student groups. He hopes that the Big Ideas talk can take place again next year in the fall and spring.