With mid-terms out of the way, the research papers beckon.
But instead of penning academic tomes for marks, Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) wants to pay undergraduates for their work, particularly if it could better BUSU services.
BUSU has launched a new research grants program, providing funding for entrepreneurial students who pitch proposals and implement projects that will improve on-campus life, focusing on student services, experience and/or the role of the students’ union.
The point is to have fresh eyes taking a look at what happens every day at Brock and in the BUSU offices, explained Luke Speers, BUSU’s vice-president of finance and administration.
“We can only hire 14 student staff and only four students can be on the executive but we have 18,000 students here. Maybe (a student) doesn’t want to work for us but they want to help,” Speers said. “We want students at Brock who use BUSU every day and probably see things we could do better to come up with an idea for a project.”
Speers and crew are busy shopping the program around to different departments on campus to generate buzz but they’re hopeful the financial reward will also buy some interest.
Students submit a research proposal outlining the topic, its potential impact on students and how research will be conducted. Those pitching successful proposals immediately receive $500 to support their research. They then have 90 days to submit their final projects.
Those projects that get the stamp of approval from BUSU when finished get a cool $1,000 honorarium as a token of thanks.
There’s no deadline for submissions but there is a limit of three proposals that BUSU can accept for the 2012-13 academic year. Proposals can also involve up to three students, though the cash stipend remains the same. The program is also open to undergraduate students only.
With 30 divisions in the BUSU’s portfolio – restaurants, the health and dental plan, food bank and campus bar, to name a few – Speers is certain there are plenty of possibilities to make BUSU and Brock better.
“We’re open to anything,” he said. “If it’s something constructive for us, we’ll approve it and it’s off to the races.
“We have some of the brightest minds in the world here. Let’s take advantage.”