SIPS funding to come from house community budget

by Kevin Ge | 9/21/17 10:20am

Student-Initiated Programs, a residential life initiative that allocates funds to students looking to build community, is being assimilated into the house communities. According to residential education director Michael Wooten, the initiative’s $10,000 budget will now be incorporated into $1 million annual budget College President Phil Hanlon originally promised to the housing communities as part of Moving Dartmouth Forward. Despite this change, students will still be able to create college-sponsored programming through their house executive board.

Previously, students were able to apply for project funding as long as it was intended to promote bonding between a residential cluster’s residents.

Past uses of funding have consisted of meals at the Hanover Inn and making winter fleece hats, according to the program’s website. Other examples include a group of students who had previously lived together using the funding to have a reunion the next year and students attending a Broadway show, Wooten said.

Wooten said that SIPS was designed to encourage active participation in student life alongside the responsibility and joy of programming an event, as opposed to students simply taking advantage of the funding or attending events without putting any effort into them.

“You consume a program or two that you don’t have any skin in the game for and then you leave and go and do something else,” he said. “The model is a co-creation model ... [SIPS] was that and it continues to be that now. There is all sort of access to funds, but there is some sort of skin in the game that you need to demonstrate to your residents that you will also put in the time.”

Former undergraduate advisor Andrew Sun ’18 said he did not see much success with SIPS programming during his tenure due to a lack of initiative in applying for the funding.

“[SIPS] was challenging because a lot of [the responsibility] fell on the students,” Sun said. “It wasn’t designed for UGAs to do a lot of the administrative stuff. It was down to the students. I think that was the reason why I’ve never seen that many successful SIPS programs.”

Julia Bonzanini ’21 said she appreciated the idea behind SIPS, as it promoted student bonding and community.

The SIPS initiative formerly featured three types of programs: building/cluster focused, faculty involvement and standard. A building/cluster focused event typically received $500 or less from the College and was meant to promote larger-scale social events. The faculty involvement program was intended to facilitate interaction between students and professors and typically received $250 or less from the College. The smallest SIPS option, a standard program, typically received $50 or less and was meant to facilitate informal interactions among residents.

To be considered for funding, students had to submit a SIPS proposal to be approved by the respective assistant director of residential life. Any request for $100 or more required a meeting with an assistant director.

After the event had ended, the organizer was required to submit a report and evaluation within 48 hours.