Extra grant money allows for weekend retreat

by Kelly Hildebrandt

This spring, about 50 academic health students will gather at Wilder Forest to talk about death — how to cope with it, how to inform someone’s loved one about a death and how different cultures deal with it.
This is all courtesy of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, which recently allocated the Academic Health Center $2,000 to host a retreat called Bridging Life Into Death.
This year the graduate assembly had about $15,000 more in grant money than the usual $10,000 due to surplus budget money, said Cheryl Jorgensen, the president of the graduate assembly.
“GAPSA seemed like an appropriate place to go,” said Jenny Meslow, the director of student services in the Academic Health Center. “Since the retreat is for students that GAPSA serves, I thought it was a nice marriage.”
The retreat will answer questions that academic health students don’t normally learn in typical University classes.
Since GAPSA split with the Minnesota Student Association in 1992, they have given out grants to other student organizations, said Vicki Casey-Larson, an assistant in the fees committee department in the Campus Involvement Center.
Many student organizations funded by student fees, like MSA, give grant money out to other programs, Casey said.
Meslow said that although the Academic Health Center hasn’t received funding from GAPSA for a few years, they have received funding from other student organizations in the past, including the Medical School student council.
“GAPSA gives out grants to support student initiatives that don’t necessarily have funding,” Jorgensen said.
Organizations interested in receiving grant money must meet only a few requirements. The graduate association only asks that the program benefits graduate and professional students at the University, Jorgensen said. They also don’t give grants to a program more than once.
The Bridging Life Into Death retreat is one of four other grants GAPSA recently allocated. CompuCHIP, a student computer group for academic health students, was allocated money to purchase a new computer and printer for the center.
“I think there are a number of students that are going to benefit from them,” Jorgensen said of the programs.
To improve the grant application process and make it easier for students, Jorgensen said she wants to put the grant application on their World Wide Web site and create a grants committee to review the applications and flush out questions prior to voting on them.