Protecting the Student Initiative Fund

University District

$40,000 held by the Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs given out annually

Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker says he doesn’t want cuts to the Student Initiaitve Fund to prevent students from being entrepreneurial.
Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker says he doesn’t want cuts to the Student Initiaitve Fund to prevent students from being entrepreneurial.

Associate-Vice Principal and Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker said he aims to preserve the Student Initiative Fund despite the budget cuts his office is facing.

“We’re doing everything we can to protect it in terms of budget cuts. I don’t want there to be any disruption of students being entrepreneurial.”

Laker said the amount of money in the fund remains fairly consistent year to year.

“[Last year] we gave out over 100 grants for a total of at least $40,000,” he said. “The Student Initiative Fund is held by the Associate Vice-Principal and Dean of Student Affairs as discretionary financial support for projects that enhance the quality of the student experience at Queen’s.”

Funding for each student initiative varies based on the application submitted to the Student Initiative Fund, said Laker.

“Some of the grants people ask for are quite small—to print off posters.”

Larger grants are given to students who are organizing conferences, he said. The fund is in place to support events such as competitions, symposia, conferences, festivals and community development projects.

There are seven criteria which an initiative must meet in order to receive funding: the project must be non-profit; applicants must explain the purpose and goals of the project; a detailed proposed budget must be attached to the application; evidence that students have tried to get funding from alternative sources must be provided; students must outline how the project will contribute to Queen’s reputation; a Social Insurance Number must be provided if financial support is given to an individual and any funds provided are considered taxable income; and upon completion of the project a summary report must be submitted to Laker.

Laker said a Social Insurance Number is only required if an individual student applies for a grant.

“It’s only necessary if the money is going to be considered as taxable income by the Canadian government. If it’s going into a club’s budget then a Social Insurance Number isn’t necessary.”

The Students Initiative Fund contributed money to the QUMSA educational campaign and leadership conferences, Laker said.

“Remember that our goal is to give out the money,” he said. “If the project meets the criteria and requirements outlined on the website … [students] are likely to get something.”

Laker said diligence is all that’s required to receive funding.

“There’s an application that’s found on the website,” he said. “We’re not trying to make students jump through hoops.

“Mainly, we want to help them pursue the things that they’re working on. We’re particularly interested in supporting projects that have as wide as possible an influence on students. We have some really talented students here. There are a lot of really neat projects.”

Laker said he likes to personally interact with Student Initiative Fund applicants.

“One of my favourite things is I end up having really great conversations with students who are enthusiastic,” he said. “For example, last week I met with a grad student and an undergraduate student who had been talking about anti-racism and wanted to do something. How cool is that?” Laker said he cannot comment on the details of the students’ project because the process of applying for funding has not been finalized.

Laker said projects which fit the criteria are not rejected for funding.

“We don’t have a record of projects that have not been funded—again, that’s rare,” he said. “If the project fits the criteria, then the issue is not giving out money but how much we can give out.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.