SLC approves Quality Money grants for next year

By Susan Anderson

The Students’ Union has released their list of approved Quality Money grants for the 2010-2011 school year. The Board of Governors has yet to approve the list before it becomes official, but in the past the body has only requested minor changes or clarifications. Quality Money is a unique University of Calgary initiative where the school grants the SU over $1 million to allocate to projects which benefit the school community.

“It’s a really rare relationship that the SU has with their BOG, in the fact that they’re endowing this massive amount of money completely to be student run,” said SU president and Quality Money committee member Lauren Webber. “That’s huge amounts of trust.”

Webber said Quality Money grants help contribute to the student academic and non-academic experience and can create a sense of pride in the school. The committee looks at proposals and feedback through surveys and tries to meet those needs.

“It has to benefit as many students as possible,” said SU vice-president Alyssa Stacy.

Applications are received in the fall and a committee reviews them over the winter break. They then meet through the winter semester to select the recipients. Students, staff and faculty can all submit proposals for projects.

“We keep the applicants quite accountable as well. We ask for an extended budget, we ask for a strategic plan on how they plan to implement the money — if they don’t perform on that, the committee can revoke the pay,” said Webber, who will give a presentation to the BOG in April explaining the outcomes of last year’s Quality Money grants.

“I think the board’s been happy and definitely students are enthused,” said Webber.

The SU has monitored past projects to ensure they are successful and well managed.

“The career education program was started two years ago with Quality Money,” said career services director Martina Payette. “The feedback’s been really, really positive.”

The Career Education Program received renewed funding from this year’s Quality Money grants. The first year of the program was 100 per cent funded by Quality Money, with this year’s funding at about 50 per cent.

“The Quality Money has been very helpful in launching a program that helps students discover what areas are out there for them in various career paths, and to build the practice of networking, so when they are looking for work they know how to speak with people,” said Payette.

Past Quality Money grants include renovations to the Wellness Centre, the creation of Qmunity, the Writer’s Block series, funding for the Teaching and Learning Centre, CJSW relocation and the addition of lockers on campus.

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