Photo by EMMA GROSSBAUER
Fall 2020 will bring some big changes to our small campus. Beginning next fall term, Alma College will open up more travel experiences for students, in the hopes that more individuals will be able to make use of the opportunities offered through the college.
Currently, any student who has taken advantage of a Posey Global Grant to travel abroad is not eligible to use a Venture Grant. Starting in the fall of 2020 that will change.
“Students can now complete multiple experiences and they will not take away from their access to other opportunities,” said Assistant Director of the Venture Program and Off-Campus Study, Carla Jensen.
The goal of this change is to open up opportunities to students on campus that may otherwise be closed. Some say that Alma’s off-campus experiences help to distinguish the college from other small liberal arts schools.
Not only will students be able to use these grants in any order they see fit, there will even be opportunities for those traveling to get more funding.
“All traditional Venture funding will still be in place, but additional funding is available, thanks to generous donor support, for experiences like local service learning, social justice and advocacy work,” said Carla Jensen.
Some students now wonder what this means for those that have already received a Posey Global Grant and were denied for a Venture Grant.
“The Venture Grant was falsely advertised to me as a prospective student and I was very angry to learn that I could not access it because I took the opportunity to use a P-Global in my first year,” said Destiny Herbers (‘21).
While students still currently cannot apply for a Venture Grant if they have already used a P-Global, the opportunity for some will come soon enough.
“This change I do think must be frustrating for people who were denied their Venture due to using P-Global money first, but that doesn’t mean that Administration shouldn’t make this change,” said Lillian Blaisdell (‘21).
For many this change seems to be a case of “better late than never,” but still brings some disappointment as they won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity for this upcoming spring term.
The changes of the order in which the Venture Grant and P-Global can be used is not the only change to this system, though.
“Beginning next fall, all experiential and service learning programs will now fall under the Venture umbrella and most will have a shared application and committee review process,” said Carla Jensen. “Students can dream up their Venture and apply for the funding needed and the committee will determine the awards.”
While the entire process hasn’t yet been fully decided or released, the college is planning on big changes that involve opening more doors for students who are willing and wanting to travel abroad. The upcoming changes have many students giddy about the prospect of being able to travel even more, but they feel as though there are still issues that remain unsolved.
“I do think a major flaw that still exists in the Venture program system is why [and] why not some students receive the “full” $2,500. I think, especially since $2,500 is advertised for every student, it really stirs up bitterness and confusion when people aren’t awarded the full amount,” said Blaisdell.
Although some students feel as though there are issues within the Venture system here at Alma, there are changes being made in hopes of allowing more students to venture off campus and explore the world around them.
“We believe every Alma College student should have a transformative experiential learning opportunity and the college is expanding our commitment to making that possible,” said Carla Jensen. “College is a great place to explore new things and we believe your college experience should include the opportunity to pursue something you care deeply about or maybe just to step out of your comfort zone and try something you never imagined”