Ford, Zipcar partner up to help RSOs travel out of town

Registered student organizations now have the chance to receive free transportation by entering a “Students with Drive” grant program.

Ford Motor Company and Zipcar has decided to collaborate for the program to help student organizations to travel outside Champaign-Urbana. The program has been going since Oct. 4 and will be ending April 2012.

Zipcar and Ford will pick out the top-rated student groups each month from five categories: athletics, academics, arts, community service and student life.

The grants provided for the winning student organizations will total $300,000 in grants from Ford and $5,000 in credit from Zipcar.

Also, $10,000 will be awarded to the winning school, with $10,000 for student organization to its cause, according to the press release.

Sarah Strom, the president of Urban Needs in Teacher Education, or UNITE, said the organization could receive a lot of benefits with the grants from the program. UNITE recently applied for the grant.

“(The grants) would be able to help with our goal such as the Alternative Spring Break trip in the spring,” Strom said. “We also love the organization money we give to the U. of I. since we love our school.”

According to Strom, the UNITE organization is looking forward on the grants in order to help teachers in urban area.

“We are excited because it would really help us to travel to major urban areas,” she said.

Liz Elser, assistant brand manager for Ford, said every type of organizations can enter the program and be selected at the end of the month.

“When a representative from the organization wants to submit an entry for the organization, they would select the categories,” Elser said. “Every month, Ford and Zipcar will pick their three favorites based on a different numbers of categories… There will be 15 total finalists; at that point, it is all voting on Facebook and the application.”

Colleen McCormick, public relations specialist at Zipcar, said the process has been smoothly going with engaged students at the organizations.

“The program is meant to make car-sharing more accessible,” McCormick said. “We are happy to recognize and support the next generation who are making their campus a better place.”

Elser added that Ford is also happy with providing help to college students.

“I think it is fantastic that today’s college students seem to be willing to get involved on campus and the community,” Elser said. “Ford is really excited to be able to partner with Zipcar to provide transportation to them to accomplish their mission.”