The University of New Hampshire’s Parents Association has awarded $39,143 in grants to fund emerging and expanding projects throughout the university during the 2016-17 academic year.
The Parents Council serves as the governing board of the Parents Association, the network of UNH parents that guardians are automatically entered into when their child enrolls at the university. President-elect of the council and UNH alumna Pam Dey Vossler states that the council works to strengthen the UNH community and support its students’ success. According to Dey Vossler, the Parents Council’s work does not stop within the parameters of the university; it expands the UNH brand in the world to ensure student connections in the job force after graduation.
“Everything we do is to further support our students,” Dey Vossler said. “Just like a parent would encourage their kid to go beyond and raise the bar for themselves and hit it.”
According to Dey Vossler, the Parent’s Council received 22 grant proposals this year. Of this total, 20 of the proposed applications were selected and received grants ranging from $966 to $4,000. The grant money comes from an endowment started by donations from parents. Because the funds are invested, the amount available for grants is dependent on the performance of these investments each year.
This year, many projects were affected by these grants. The UNH Precision Racing team received $3,000 to design and create an open wheeled form style racecar to compete against 120 other schools in Michigan in May. According to senior mechanical engineering major and director of the race team Keller Waldron, the car will be judged on cost and performance. The winner of the competition will have their prototype manufactured and sold.
“We design and manufacture the whole thing from the ground up,” Waldron said. “The grant allows us to apply what we learn in the classroom to a real world application.”
Among the other 20 or so recipients are the men and women’s crew teams, who, according to junior Brian Rafferty, applied for the grant to fund repairs on their boathouse. The “Swipe It Forward” program received the maximum grant of $4,000. According to senior nutrition major Alana Davidson, the money bought 1,333 swipes for students who may not be able to afford them otherwise.
“It’s a great start,” Davidson said. “We have a good number of meals to start the program off with.”
The Parents Association grant criteria states that, among other considerations, the council will weigh the quality and merit of proposal, how the proposed project will affect the UNH community and the long-term impact the proposal will make. The qualifications for the grant are open to a variety of projects. However, Dey Vossler notes it does not fund travel.
Though the grants are a huge part of the Parents Associations’ presence in the UNH community, President Shawn Munro Edgecomb highlights that the association’s hopes to be a resource for parents who may have questions and concerns about their children.
“A lot of time when their kid goes off to college parents do not know where to get their questions answered,” Munro Edgecomb said. “We’re trying to make the parent of a student network stronger and more visible so parents have a support network.”