ASU grant program stalled

Grant for Support program lacks active screening committee

By Lorenzo Morotti, Associate Editor

The Associated Student Union’s Grant for Support program could remain inactive for the remainder of the semester because the committee that approves the applicants to receive such a grant does not have enough members, Student Life Coordinator Joel Nicholson-Shanks said.

Nicholson-Shanks said the ASU Finance Committee has not started the process for Contra Costa College’s constituent groups and departments to apply for funding from the Grant for Support program so far this semester.

“The Grant for Support is on the agenda for our next meeting (today). We brought it up and talked about it at the (internal) planning workshop we held last week,” Nicholson-Shanks said.

“We included it in the calendar, but we still do not (know) an exact date that we will roll it out or if we can (even) have the program this semester.”

The Grant for Support program draws its funds from the $5 Student Activity Fee paid by nearly all students at the start of each term.

The ASU Board decides which departments or clubs that apply for the Grant for Support to host events, create programs or supplement other expenses, can be funded up to a certain limit.

Last semester, the ASU’s Grant for Support budget was $25,000 — each application was limited to receiving up to $2,500.

This semester, ASU  Treasurer Aireus Robinson is the Finance Committee chairperson and only official member, as of press time Tuesday.

Robinson said that there has been pressure from professors and students from certain departments to get the Grant for Support active.

He said ASU members have not shown up to Finance Committee meetings despite showing interest in joining the committee that is responsible for screening and pr0viding recommendations to the ASU Board about dispersing the Grant for Support funds.

“So far it has been a one-man army,” he said. “The pressure from departments asking for funding is a wake-up call. This is a program that needs to move forward and we need people (in the ASU) to recognize that this is a way for us to give back to the college.”

He said the ASU hopes to create a smaller version of the Grant for Support by mid-November and begin the review and disbursement process in early December.

The Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board approved the $5 Student Activity Fee in 2011. CCC Business Services Supervisor Nick Dimitri said the Grant for Support program was created to make sure that the student activity funds are used. Dimitri said any unused Grant for Support funds go back into an account to be used the following semester if the ASU chooses to reactivate the program.

“Not all the money has to be spent. There isn’t a separate pot of money for the Grant for Support,” he said. “The ASU looks at funds available from the student activity fee at the time and the district provides the checks.”