In the fall it was announced that, in order to help expand the capacity of what Student Government does, particular appointed officers completing staff labor (like managing spreadsheets, IT, or communications) would receive a small stipend to support their work. These appointed officers were approved by the College and Graduate Council, and payment would have been overseen by staff members in the Center for Leadership and Involvement. However, upon hearing students' concern about this initiative, we recognized we missed the mark. No stipends were paid out, and we went back to the drawing board.
As the result of several months of work with the Office of College Aid and Campus and Student Life, we’re excited to announce a proposal: the Student Leadership Stipend program. Like the previous pilot program, its goal is to help give students the ability to participate in student organizations regardless of socioeconomic background. Many students at UChicago are self-supporting or need to work a job. Particularly due to the high demands of UChicago’s academic environment, this often comes at the expense of a student’s ability to take on leadership positions in RSOs.
The SLS program would offer students who are involved in the leadership of an RSO with a small stipend, $250 per quarter, to support their work and offset some need in working another job. It would be targeted at students with demonstrated financial need, but all students would be eligible. Students would submit applications to a committee of students (seated by the College and Graduate Councils and made up of RSO leaders, members of SG, and students at-large), which would produce a list of eligible students based on merit and demonstrated commitment to their RSO. The Office of College Aid would then pull from that list, guaranteeing at least half of the awards go to students with demonstrated financial need. Around twenty SLS awards would be available in the first year of the program if it is implemented.
It is our goal to work with Alumni Relations and Development in order to fundraise as much as possible for the program, to minimize the impact it would have on the SG budget. No funding would be directed away from student organizations to fund the SLS program. Last year, Northwestern implemented a similar program to much success.
It is important to note that this is just a proposal: it will have to be approved by the College and Graduate Councils in order to move forward. We welcome student feedback as we work to make the proposal and program as strong as possible.
Tyler Kissinger, President
Hamid Bendaas, Chair of the College Council