Board of Advisors Announces Grant and Other Support




By Taylor Armer
CCBP Graduate Assistant

Scholarships and grants were announced at the wrap-up session prior to the closing dinner of the second annual Community Affairs Board of Advisors meeting Monday, April 3. Along with ideas to expand The University of Alabama’s reach to more prospective students, the board members convened in their respective subcommittees at the Ferguson Center with hopes of finalizing their goals from last fall’s meeting.

The Student Entrepreneurship and Innovative Initiatives committee obtained multiple commitments toward funding scholarships and grants. Led by co-chairs Nicholas Beadle and Reginald Miller, the committee laid out the groundwork for creating and sustaining a scholarship and grant program that would reward a cohort of innovative students during fall and spring semesters.

Beadle’s subcommittee proposed to grant up to $500 in seed funds to an initial cohort of 20 students from The EDGE Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for its business pitch competition in the fall. EDGE is a local business incubator that houses the student-focused Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute and provides students with the necessary tools to foster an emerging business. Based on the committee’s predetermined criteria, the committee will select from the group three winners for grants — one $5,000 and two $2,500 awards — in the spring.

These grants would support innovative projects like the one to develop never-freeze water bottles for harsh arctic temperatures. Beadle and Miller called this and several other ideas they heard from student entrepreneurs “phenomenal.”

“Meeting with those students showed me that there is a need for more funding, and a need for more involvement,” Beadle said. “And I’m happy we could make that investment.”

The Global and Community Leadership subcommittee will invest in student travel opportunities. Its two $2,500 Board of Advisors Study Away Scholarships will be available in the fall for university students to use during spring and summer semesters. The travel scholarships will be awarded through Community Affairs and the Capstone International Center.

In addition to finalizing how they would raise funds for the scholarships and who would implement the award program, committee members discussed how to increase intermingling among various student groups with representatives from the International Students Association, Interfraternity Council and Student Government Association.

“They appreciated our interest as much as we appreciated their answers, which is always beneficial,” said Stephen McNair, co-chair of the committee. “Quite a few of them said, ‘when you come back next time, let us know so we can continue this discussion,’ which is extremely encouraging.”

Members of the Academic Success and Student Retention committee expressed similar feelings after speaking with UA Admissions representatives on ways they could be a part of the student recruitment of underserved student populations. Co-chair Holly Luther said that meeting with University staff and actual students who put a face to the committee’s goals was helpful in thinking of ways “to achieve better success” in retention and mentoring.

To ensure success in the latter, all committee members pledged to contact their area recruiter by the end of April. Elliot Knight, who conceived the idea, said that his fellow members would provide alumni support to the recruiters and encouraged other members of the Board of Advisors to do the same.

“This is a way of telling them that if there’s ever a way we can help, please let us know and we will be glad to do that,” he said.

He urged members interested in contacting their local admissions representative to visit gobama.ua.edu and key in their state. The website provides the recruiter’s phone number and email address.

The next official gathering of the Board of Advisors will take place during the fall 2017 semester.