CSU Donates $81,785 to the Capilano University Foundation

Awards of $200-$1000 available to Black, trans, two-spirit, non-binary and disabled students, as well as leaders working towards a more equitable, diverse and inclusive university

Bridget Stringer-Holden // News Editor

“The Capilano University Foundation began in the early days of Capilano College — back in the 70s — and the idea around the foundation is to fundraise and support students and bursaries, scholarships and awards, and other capital projects and needs of the university to support students and the learning environment,” explains Jennifer Ingham (she/her), vice-president, university relations. There are several volunteer directors who help run the Foundation, and the money raised is dedicated towards the support of Capilano University (CapU) and its students.

On Dec. 15, it was announced that the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) donated $81,785 to the CapU Foundation, as student leaders from previous years identified disproportionate financial barriers for Black students, T2SNB (trans, Two-Spirit and non-binary) students and disabled students. “With that in mind, we decided to create the fund that resulted in the donation,” explained Maia Lomelino (she/her/they/them), the current CSU President. 

“The CSU’s collectives committee acts as a roundtable forum for the elected liaisons representing students who face historical and ongoing barriers to high education,” Lomelino continues, “with special thanks to the 2020–2021 student leaders involved at the time: Feven Kidane, Black students liaison; June Reisner, accessibility justice coordinator; Chan Cardin, at-large board member; and Michaela Volpe, queer students liaison.” A leadership award was also set up for students who demonstrate leadership in creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive university.

The CSU’s donation is endowed, meaning the principal will generate interest which will be used to fund each year’s awards. Currently, the CSU has more than $130,000 in their endowment fund, which is held by the CapU Foundation. This should result in over five thousand dollars a year in interest to support students, and should last in perpetuity.

Although the CSU can manage their own financial aid — such as the U-Pass BC Hardship Fund — there are benefits to going through the CapU Foundation. The good rates of return on the Foundation’s endowed funds maximizes the amount available to students each year, as well as ensuring that there is a single process for CapU students to apply for scholarships, awards and bursaries.

The three new awards that will be distributed starting Spring 2022, are the “CSU Support Fund for Black Students” (from $250 to a maximum of $1000 per student per year), the “CSU Support Fund for Trans, Two-Spirit, and Non-Binary Students” (from $200 to a maximum of $1000 per student per year) and the “CSU Disability Support Fund” (from $200 to a maximum of $1000 per student per year). All the support funds are available to full-time or part-time, domestic or international students. The “CSU Equity Leadership Award” is valued at $500, and will be distributed to two students a year, with preference that one is international.

Lomelino explained that the amount for each award was discussed at length — with advice from each board sponsor about the corresponding support fund — and is meant to meaningfully reflect the struggles of the group in question, while still maintaining a balance to ensure a reasonable number of students are able to access the funds each year.

Students can apply through financial aid, like all other awards and bursaries, and eligibility criteria are established through CapU Financial Aid and Awards. “The goal was to make sure it was easy for students to self-identify and apply for financial support or be recognized for their leadership,” states Ingham. In the agreement, the CSU also set criteria for each award. “We met with the Financial Aid and Awards team to talk about a number of examples and scenarios to give them a good idea of how to implement our student leaders’ visions,” explains Lomelino.

For the leadership award, students will need to apply; however, for the other awards, financial aid will identify eligible students based on their general application for financial aid each semester. “For a number of reasons and rights, it will be for students to self-identify,” Ingham continues. “It is an opportunity for people to identify, however they identify and for us to just support them based on that information.”

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