The AppreCCiate Scholarship

The Problem

Rising tuition costs at colleges and universities in the United States is making it increasingly difficult for students from low income backgrounds to receive a quality education and limits them professionally and economically. I believe that a quality liberal arts education should be financially accessible to all Americans. That's why I helped to start the AppreCCiate Scholarship at Colorado College.

Plan of Action

The project began in the fall of 2005 when my best friend from college Ari Stiller-Shulman and I decided that we wanted to do something very challenging to raise funds for a good cause. We decided to initiate a cause of our own – one that truly matters to us. Both of us care deeply about socioeconomic justice, are interested in the field of education, and have enjoyed the privilege of attending Colorado College (CC). So we decided to establish a need-based scholarship to make the opportunity of attending CC more accessible to students with financial need. At the beginning of our senior year, we approached the Office of Development at Colorado College withour idea. We called it “AppreCCiate,” because it would be a scholarship funded primarily by CC students. Contributing to a need-based scholarship fund, we thought, would be the perfect way for students to show how much they appreciate the opportunity to study at an institution like CC. It would be a way for them to pass that opportunity on to someone who might not otherwise be able toafford it. Another goal in the mission of the AppreCCiate Scholarship is to cultivate a culture of philanthropy at CC by encouraging students to begin the lifelong habit of giving. After receiving approval from the college, Ari and I embarked on a yearlong campaign to raise money to endow a scholarship fund and to raise our peers’ awareness of the underlying issue of socioeconomic inequity in higher education. Throughout the year, we conducted on-campus fundraisers designed both to solicit donations and to educate the student body about the “achievement gap” – that is, the striking disparity in collegematriculation rates between students from upper-income and lower-income brackets in the United States. By the end of the 2005-2006 academic year, we had inspired more than 50% of the student body to donate to the scholarship and had raised over $20,000. Our most exciting fund-raising effort took the form of a bike ride, but not just any bike ride: a three-month-long, trans-continental bike ride. We began our journey in August, 2006 when we depart from Eugene, Oregon and pedaled across the country until we hit Washington DC in November. The ride netted over $15,000 for the AppreCCiate Scholarship. Since 2006, Ari and I - along with a team of dedicated CC students - have raised over $50,00 to, which is the amount required by CC to fully endow a scholarship of $2,500 per year for one student. This might seem a meager beginning, buthopefully, after a few years of continued fundraising, the endowment will grow large enough to provide a scholarshipthat will truly make CC significantly more accessible to students who would otherwise not be able to afford a CC education.

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