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Student government provides holiday travel stipend

The Student Government Association notified 27 out of 41 applicants of the Home for the Holidays travel
grant that they had won a stipend to help pay for their travel expenses to see their families.

The initiative to send students home for Christmas break started two years ago, when an anonymous donor gave $2,000 toward the cause. This gift was matched by Student Development, for a total fund of $4,000.

“As a sophomore class senator, I was selected to sit on the committee to read through the applications and help
appropriate the money. It was the single most impactful experience I have had while on SGA,” Student Government Association President, Brad Johnson said.

This year, Johnson wanted to make the grant possible again.

“The stories from many applicants were compelling and the need for some was very high. As a result, when the SGA senate began discussing ways to best serve JBU students this year, the Home for the Holidays travel grant was a natural choice,” Johnson said.

SGA voted to give $4,000 towards the cause, and Student Development gave $3,000. This totals $3,000 more for the fund than the original year.

In 2014 John Brown University enrolled undergraduate students from 42 states and 39 foreign countries, according to jbu.edu.

“With so many different states and countries represented here at JBU, it’s not hard to imagine that many students have to spend the holidays away from their families. Many have parents, siblings, or friends who are
suffering from sickness, loss or other difficult circumstances, and it can be difficult for those students to spend almost a month away from both JBU and home,” Julia Theisen, SGA senator of the engineering and technology division, said.

“As you can imagine, the selection process was slow and deliberate as SGA members had to choose how to appropriate funds. In general, students who displayed the greatest need and were able to show their dedication to getting home, i.e. raising some money on their own and requesting within our $500 limit, were more readily awarded funds,” said Theisen.

Johnson said that as of now, the Home-for-the-Holidays grant will not be an annual event.

“However, SGA is currently exploring some options for potentially making an annual Home-for-the-Holidays grant a reality,” Johnson said.

“This scholarship is one of the most heartwarming things I have been a part of,” Theisen said.