Gift to Tech funding vote now open to student body

Photo courtesy of SAA

The Student Alumni Association (SAA) will be awarding its annual Gift to Tech to a cause or organization voted upon by both the campus community and members of SAA.

Voting on the eight projects selected by SAA will be open to all students until March 18. The top three will then be announced March 28 to be voted on by members of SAA, selecting the recipient of this year’s award.

The current nominees consist of a variety of projects, with a significant number of the nominated causes looking to promote the presence of the fine arts at Tech.

One such project is the All Access Programming initiative sponsored by the Office of the Arts, which asks for funds in order to fund free performances in venues such as Bobby Dodd, Burger Bowl, Campanile, and the Fifth Street Bridge.

#GTInsiderArt is another Office of the Arts-backed program looking to subsidize the cost to student groups for the use of the Ferst Center and Dull Theater.

Currently, costs of use are either sponsored by the performance groups, their affiliates or are mitigated by ticket sales.

The spaces may be used rent-free for certain campus organizations, but Ferst requires that departments cover all associated labor costs, including AV, janitorial and equipment services.

Ferst also requires that their staff be present during the utilization of Ferst-owned equipment.

The other entries cover a broad range of philanthropic activities ranging from emergency assistance to expansion of academic programs.

EXCEL is an existing post-secondary education program for those with mild intellectual disabilities that allows students to earn two certificates past their high school education.

They have asked for funding in order to expand their career development opportunities.

The Albert Einstein Monument program is requesting money from SAA to create a fund promoting the legacy of Albert Einstein the interplay between arts and sciences at Tech.

Work Green represents groups promoting sustainability in the campus workplace, among other facets of life at Tech.

The Victim Survivor Program would use funds from SAA to provide emergency funding to victims for legal, medical and other related services. In addition, the program would also create student training programs and stipends for student volunteers to assist and supplement the current team of Victim Survivor Advocates at VOICE.

VOICE is also requesting the funds in order to purchase “software to better document student cases.” No information on the specific type of software was elaborated upon in the request.

Housing Homeless Students is seeking funds to provide a similar emergency fund for students who are facing a loss of housing due to extenuating circumstances.

“[This is] SAA’s way of giving back to the Georgia Tech community,” said Ria Banerjee, SAA President. “We try to teach [SAA] members about philanthropy and its importance ­— and specifically philanthropy to Tech.”

Every year, the donation from SAA is matched by a donation from an alumnus, up to $10,000.

The remainder of the Gift to Tech comes from the membership fee paid by all SAA members. Five dollars of this fee goes towards the Gift to Tech. The idea behind this, according to Banerjee, is that students “give back five dollars to that Gift to Tech, and you end up donating $40,000 to students who can’t afford a meal, or services or need a place to recycle.”

The final nominee will be announced at an event on April 19 at the Campanile. SAA encourages students to vote on their project of choice before public voting closes next month.