GAPSA grants help keep groups active

Student groups look forward to hosting their biggest events all year âÄî and sometimes, it takes that long to plan, especially when additional funds are needed. Last spring, Bharat , an Indian student group, hosted its annual festival of colors, called Holi. Nidhi Jani , BharatâÄôs president, said 150 to 200 students showed up to throw powdered colors and water, a tradition from India brought to the University. But to make the event a success, Bharat sought funding from the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly . GAPSA offers grants of up to $4,000 to student groups throughout each school year. The money comes from graduate student services fees, which are then put back into student events. The first deadline for grant applications is this Friday. GAPSA grants assistant Kaitlin Johnson said the grants are for any group that needs the money, whether they are graduate student groups or not. The events, however, should benefit graduate and professional students in some way, Johnson said. A group may be denied funding for âÄúnot being able to sufficiently prove to the committee that graduate and professional students will benefit from the event,âÄù GAPSA chairman of grants Kevin Wendt said. The process to receive the grants can be difficult. Groups need to meet all of GAPSAâÄôs requirements, event budgets must be pre-approved and organizers must attend a brief interview with committee members. When funds are disbursed, half is given before the event and half is given after. Once the event is over, groups have to turn in receipts to prove that they spent the money on what they said they would, Johnson said. Last November, the Anatomy Memorial Service Committee hosted a memorial service for families of those who donated their bodies to the UniversityâÄôs medical school. The groupâÄôs financial co-chair, Shireen de Sam Lazaro, said that while GAPSA had approved funding for the event, miscommunication has kept some funding on hold. âÄúWeâÄôre still having issues getting the second half of the check,âÄù de Sam Lazaro said. âÄúI think it was just bad communication. ItâÄôs just something you have to deal with.âÄù But student groups still appreciate the help. In April, The Middle Eastern Student Association received $250 to host the MESA Cup, a three-on-three soccer tournament at Riverbend Commons . âÄúIt wouldâÄôve been a lot more difficult if GAPSA didnâÄôt help us out,âÄù MESA President Maha Ali said. âÄúItâÄôs a pretty popular program and we like funding groups that have a need,âÄù Wendt said. âÄúIn general, weâÄôve asked for increases in grant money because we still have demand and weâÄôre still putting on good programs.âÄù