ISS to consider giving scholarships

The Illinois Student Senate may give select students $1,000 scholarships.

On Wednesday, the senate will vote on a resolution which would create a sub-committee on scholarship to determine which students will receive these scholarships. The resolution calls for a total of $5,000 to be set aside for the fund. According to the resolution, five scholarships will be awarded: an academic achievement scholarship for undergraduates and graduate/professional studies students, an extracurricular involvement scholarship, a diversity scholarship and a community involvement scholarship.

“I was trying to break down what I thought are the five important areas to the student body,” said Matt Gold, LAS senator and sponsor of the resolution. “I thought promoting diversity on campus is something we should always be doing. I included community involvement (because) last semester, I started to get really involved with the Champaign community … and I realized how strong community ties are. I want to promote community involvement.”

To avoid any potential corruption, the resolution states that students affiliated with student government cannot be considered for these scholarships. The sub-committee that awards these scholarships may be made up of senators and non-senators.

Damani Bolden, sponsor of the resolution and ACES senator, said that despite the availability of funds for these scholarships in ISS’ budget, some senators may oppose the resolution.

“Many senators are really afraid to earmark such a large amount of money,” he said. “(But,) this is the best way that we can spend the money we’ve (ISS) been given. We can give it directly back to students who are the most deserving.”

Despite potential opposition, Bolden and Gold feel that now is the best time to pass this resolution. In light of tuition increases, giving students scholarships is especially important, Gold said.

“I think that tuition is getting out of control, and students need to be vocal and stand up for ourselves,” he said. “We have the right to have a fair tuition and not to pay obnoxious fees. Students deserve scholarships to reward our hard work.”

A $1,000 scholarship is enough to help a student in paying his or her tuition, said David Pileski, student body president. By having five $1,000 scholarships, the senate can help more people than if it were to award one $5,000 scholarship.

“I would like to see us reach as many people as possible,” Pileski said. “Any amount of money is helpful for students. We (ISS) really need to make sure we are maximizing potential outreach to students.”

The sponsors of the resolutions said that using ISS’ budget for scholarships is more beneficial than using it for internal ISS expenses. This resolution is intended to give back to the community, Bolden said.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity to show students that we, as a student senate, care about the things that they do and their contributions to the campus community,” he said. “This is what student government is about and how our student government will always function.”