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University of Edinburgh Students’ Association establishes grant for student-led initiatives

The University of Edinburgh’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) has formed a partnership with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association to launch a grant supporting student-led projects on sustainability and social responsibility.

The SRS Student Project Grant provides funding of up to £500 for student groups or societies implementing projects around themes such as energy and carbon, Fair Trade, food and drink, sustainable travel and other related topics.

Each year, the grant is open to all current University of Edinburgh students in groups of at least three members each.

Claire Martin, Projects Coordinator for Events and Student Engagement at the University of Edinburgh, told The Student that the SRS Department and the Students’ Association are looking for “projects that will have a positive impact on social responsibility and sustainability on campus. Last year we awarded funding to seven student projects.”

One recent winner of the Student Project Grant was the Social Policy Society.

Their ‘Take One Action’ film nights focussing on policy issues such as income inequality and food security were picked by the SRS Department and the Students’ Association for the grant.

Speaking to The Student, Teja Bapuram, President of the Social Policy Society, said: “We were very pleased that our project was being picked and awarded the grant.

“We used the grant to pay for the ‘Take One Action’ film licence”, he explained.

The society is planning out the future of the film nights: “We are currently waiting for more information from ‘Take One Action’: their catalogue, the cost of the licence for next year et cetera. We will then take a decision on whether or not to do it again in 2017.

“I hope that the film nights could continue in the future. It has been an eye-opening experience to watch different documentaries and engage in informal group discussions because you get to learn different perspectives”, Bapuram added.

Another winner of the grant was ‘Fridge Friends’, a mobile App designed by students to reduce food waste by sharing food that will expire shortly and giving it to people in the local network.

Moreover, the Outdoor Education Research Seminar was awarded funding last year. It is a three day residential programme for PhD students, focussing on outdoor and sustainability education.

Claire Martin is already looking forward to the 2016 applicants: “This year, we are looking forward for enthusiastic students with an interesting SRS project up their sleeve!

“The grant will help students to get their idea of the ground. Projects are not restricted to one theme. They can cover a wide range of issues related to social responsibility and sustainability, e.g. food, travel, wellbeing, energy, recycling etc.”, she explained.

Martin added: “Applicants also have the opportunity to enter their project into the university’s Sustainability Awards.”

The judging criteria by which the winners are picked include the project’s contribution to social responsibility or sustainability and the group’s motivation and enthusiasm.

The SRS Student Project Grant aims to enhance the applicants’ project management: the project needs to be feasible within a time-frame selected by the group, and members should understand and approach possible challenges to their project.

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The Student Newspaper 2016