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$90,000 in C.E.E.F. funds allocated to student initiatives

C.E.E.F. grant proposal winners were chosen by the Student Union C.E.E.F. committee this week. C.E.E.F., or the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund, is a source of funding that provides emergency funding for students, as well as allocates money for student-led initiatives, according to the Student Union website.

C.E.E.F. contains $250,000 total and is divided into two parts: $150,000 for emergency funding and $100,000 for student-led initiatives. This year the C.E.E.F. committee received 19 proposals and chose eight to award funding to. In total, they awarded about $90,000 of the $100,000 allocated for student initiatives and still have $10,000 left over for emergencies or roadblocks that could come up when the student proposals are implemented.

C.E.E.F. has gone unused for years, according to Student Union Representative to C.E.E.F. Kate Kesselman ’19. The Union wanted to get the fund up and running again because “it is students’ money,” Kesselman said.

The committee began the process of re-implementing C.E.E.F. in December. It was difficult to get C.E.E.F. started again because it has not been used for years, so there were no prior documents or anything to refer to, Kesselman said. Applications were open until February, and the committee debated for weeks after February break before deciding on winners and releasing decisions. “It was a long process to make the decisions because they were all really great,” Kesselman said.

Proposals that were chosen to be given funding include Operation Hydration, Stand Up for the Library, Chum’s Revitalization Project, Sound Equipment for the Stein, Bike Fixit Station, Expanding Public Art at Brandeis, University Textbook Exchange and Renovation of Lounges in Freshman Dorms.

Each of these projects fell under a specific category of C.E.E.F. improvements: sustainability, academics, social life, art and culture or community building. This year, 40 percent of funding was awarded to projects that dealt with the social life category, more than any other categories. Community building and sustainability were close seconds, with 22 and 19 percent, respectively.

Christof Rindlisbacher ’19, a member of the Brandeis Undergraduate Library Council, submitted two proposals: Operation Hydration and Stand Up for the Library, both of which selected by the committee to receive funding.

During monthly council meetings, student feedback revealed that the library’s water fountains needed to be upgraded. “The library has several porcelain water fountains that are out of date and don’t work properly. It’s hard to study if you’re dehydrated,” said Rindlisbacher in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. Rindlisbacher offered to submit a C.E.E.F. proposal and requested funding for three new combination water fountains/water bottle-filling stations for the library, which would waste less water and energy and allow students to fill their water bottles more easily.

Similarly, Rindlisbacher and the Undergraduate Library Council realized the library’s new bicycle desks have been successful, so “we decided to build on the success of the bicycle desks by requesting funds for several standing desks, which will be installed throughout the library,” Rindlisbacher said. These desks would use less space than traditional desks and also give the option for healthier lifestyle choices.  

Although they will both benefit the library, Rindlisbacher’s proposals fall under the C.E.E.F. improvement categories of sustainability and academics.

The committee aimed to choose projects that would benefit the Brandeis community and improve student life in the long run. “We wanted to make sure we helped the campus in as broad a way as possible … every student uses water, every student uses desks,” Kesselman said, in reference to Rindlisbacher’s winning proposals.

Going forward, winners of the funding are asked to send an Excel sheet with a clear budget for their project so it can be inputted into SUMS (Student Union Management System), which will take some time, according to Kesselman. After the finances are put in, the individual can begin ordering supplies for their project from the Treasury.

It is up to the individual to follow through with their project, Kesselman said, but the committee will be checking in with them periodically. Most of the projects should be done by next semester, according to Kesselman.   

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