Student Government (SG) launched the first-of-its-kind, merit-based scholarship to students Nov. 5 on USF’s Tampa campus.
As a part of Student Body President Britney Deas and Student Body Vice President Travis McCloskey’s platform, Bull S.H.I.F.T., — Success, Health, Innovation, Finance and Tradition — the SG’s Student Leadership Scholarship consists of two merit-based scholarships which will be given out to students who show outstanding leadership on campus.
According to McCloskey, the idea to launch the scholarship is under the finance pillar of their platform, which seeks to provide financial security to students while preparing them for their future.
“The whole point that finance was even a pillar is that we acknowledge that college is an expensive endeavor,” McCloskey said. “We believe that we want to make the load lighter in any way possible … The scholarships are a small way of doing that, but significant nevertheless.”
The value of both scholarships differ. The green scholarship will give away $300, while the gold scholarship, representing SG’s 60th term, will give away $600.
“Gold is a premier color and correlates to high standard, that would be the better scholarship,” Deas said. “And then green is not lesser but, you know, it’s not gold.”
Since both scholarships did not surpass the value of $1,000, only Deas’ signature was required in order to have the initiative and the allocation of funds approved. If both values summed together were greater than $1,000, then it would require a signature from the Senate President, Salud Martinez, in order to meet SG’s statutes.
“We wanted to have this done before the semester was over and, as the Senate is really busy right now with consolidation, town hall [meetings] and the elections, we thought that we could do this ourselves,” McCloskey said.
To qualify for the scholarships, applicants had to meet the GPA minimum of 3.0 and submit a leadership essay, their resume, an optional cover letter and a letter of recommendation.
According to Deas, only USF Tampa students were eligible to apply for the SG’s Student Leadership Scholarship. A total of 30 students applied for the scholarships.
“In comparison to other scholarships in the university, some scholarships get four or five applicants, so to get 30, I’m proud of that,” McCloskey said. “You don’t want a scholarship to not be competitive.”
The applications closed on Nov. 14 and the results will be announced during Deas’ State of the Student Body Address on Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center.
Deas said that the funding for the scholarships came from SG’s account over at the USF Foundation, which consists solely of donations.
Despite using the USF Foundation for this year’s scholarships, McCloskey said whether the scholarship amounts will be maintained for next year will depend on donations from external donors.
“[The] foundation’s money is SG’s money,” McCloskey said. “It’s just a matter of allocating and spending it.”
Assistant Director of Internal and Academic Affairs Faith Urena said that SG did an online search on how other student governments were providing scholarships to students and how the money was distributed.
“We didn’t want to be asking a lot from the applicants and only offer them an “X” amount of money,” Urena said. “We want to make it fair, like what we were asking from the applicants was kind of equal to the amount of money that we were giving them as well.”
A committee was created in order to review the applications and choose the recipients of both scholarships. The committee consists of SG Director Gary Manka, SG Assistant Director Jennifer Bielen, SG Agencies Coordinator Ian Carroll and Student Business Services Administrative Specialist Vanessa Smith.
As chair of the committee, Deas was in charge of facilitating the review process and ensuring the committee’s efficiency.
“I hope that this becomes a tradition for years to come and that the new administration and new president will continue this,” Deas said.