A.S. receives over $100K for outreach efforts

    In what is described by many students as a much-anticipated and appreciated step in developing new forms of educational outreach, $119,000 was transferred from the Office of Student Affairs to the A.S. Council of UCSD on Feb. 5.

    The long-awaited transfer means the A.S. Council has more resources to fund individual students and student groups who seek to increase awareness and enrollment among underrepresented high school students.

    The Student Initiated Outreach and Recruitment Commission was established last month to disperse the funds to students and student organizations performing outreach in local high schools.

    “”I’m very optimistic this will be a positive way for A.S. and SIORC to make an impact on diversity on this campus,”” said A.S President Jeff Dodge.

    Funds could go to a variety of areas, ranging from high school conferences to tutoring programs, said A.S. Vice President External Dylan de Kervor.

    “”New and innovative ideas that are completely student-run and initiated will receive funding,”” de Kervor said. “”We are also looking to support programs that are already in place.””

    The funds are part of a statewide program using outreach to increase the enrollment of underrepresented minorities in the UC system.

    “”[The funds are] going to go to schools and students from underrepresented backgrounds,”” said Bud Meahan, director of Center for Research in Educational Equity and Teaching Excellence. “”The idea is to work with those schools and better prepare their students for this university.””

    What makes these funds unique is that students not only have the final say in how they are used, but the funds are theirs to use, as opposed to belonging to a department of the university.

    “”We’ve entered into an agreement with A.S. for the administration of the funds in what is based on three months of negotiations,”” said Edward Spriggs, assistant vice chancellor in charge of financial management for the Student Affairs office. “”We want A.S. and students to assume responsibility and accountability for the funds.””

    Increased student involvement is seen by many as a more effective outreach.

    “”The more we get students involved, the better off we will be,”” Meahan said.

    College students are a valuable resource in outreach and recruiting because they are more knowledgeable about high school students’ needs than faculty and staff, Meahan said.

    Students are encouraged to participate in all levels of SIORC from the committee stages and in actual outreach involvement, Dodge said.

    Interaction between the A.S. Council, students and the administration is a key component of the outreach strategy.

    “”Any time you put a chunk of change that large into a student organization you have a certain amount of trust,”” Spriggs said. “”We have every reason to believe it will result in an increase of the number [of minority students] coming to UCSD.””

    SIORC consists of committees, which will effectively run the funding commission. The steering committee will oversee the day-to-day operations.

    The core committee will evaluate funding requests. Representatives of each of the five Student Affirmative Action Committees and of other students who commit to the commission will serve.

    The SAAC organizations play a large role in SIORC because of their historic and traditional emphasis on outreach, de Kervor said.

    Membership in the core committee is open to all students who attend 70 percent of the meetings for two quarters in a row, but the SAAC organizations will lose their seat if they do not do the same, Dodge said.

    The administrative committee is made up of representatives of the Office of Student Affairs, C.R.E.A.T.E. and Early Academic Outreach Program. The admissions office will work to ensure that funding is not overlapped with efforts from other outreach departments on campus.

    The core committee will advise the A.S. finance committee on proposals, which in return advises the A.S. Council on the matter. It is the council that ultimately approves or disapproves funding requests.

    SIORC’s funding came from the state — California’s Assembly Bill 1287 allots $1 million for student-initiated outreach.

    “”This is a great opportunity being given to students by the state that recognizes [the students’] efforts,”” de Kervor said.

    The assembly allotted the money to the UC Office of the President, which divided it among UC schools. From there it went to the Office of Student Affairs at UCSD, and the A.S. Council received the funds Tuesday.

    The legislature’s commitment to student-initiated outreach represents a shift in focus toward more short-term programs that target students, in addition to schools and teachers, Spriggs said.

    “”Getting UCSD students actively involved in outreach is terrific, but I wish it was new money, not borrowed,”” Meahan said in reference to the state cutting C.R.E.A.T.E.’s budget in favor of more student initiated outreach.

    Meahan said the state needs to devote more resources to all forms of outreach.

    Regardless of funding, all parties agree that student-initiated outreach will have beneficial effects for the campus. Prospective students are said to have the most to gain.

    “”In addition to fostering what has been happening, we are looking to fund additional opportunities,”” de Kervor said. “”I encourage people to be creative, to take, enjoy and use this opportunity.””

    For more information regarding the application process call (858) 534-0474.

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