WKU pays students for service projects, except these faith-based ones
Certain faith-based projects are ineligible to receive funding for Western Kentucky University's citizenship and social justice-themed scholarships.
The recipients of the $15,000 scholarships will be chosen “based on their ability to demonstrate a well-articulated vision, detailed plan, and high level of commitment to a substantial applied learning experience,” according to a news release from WKU.
WKU’s Center for Citizenship & Social Justice Director Leah Ashwill told Campus Reform that with regard to the projects for the scholarship, “preference will be given to projects that demonstrate an effort to have a sustainable impact.”
Projects that are ineligible to receive Scholars in Service funding include “faith-based projects that include proselytizing or evangelizing as part of the service experience, projects which promote or advocate for a political candidate or party, and internships that are required by a student's degree program,” Ashwill told Campus Reform.
Applicants to the program, titled Scholars in Service, candidates must present a plan to the school and, if accepted, will be expected to work locally, domestically, or abroad on projects which “have a primary purpose of serving others and/or contributing to a citizenship or social justice cause.”
The number of recipients of the scholarship will change each year depending on how much funding is required for the approved projects in a given year. She suggested that the scholarship was in line with the WKU mission “of preparing students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society.”
Upon getting selected for scholarships, students are notified and then move to schedule a meeting with the program coordinator to go over the scholarship requirements, such as submitting project receipts and written reflections after having finished the project.
Ashwill told Campus Reform that past scholarship funds have been allocated to “fund curricular or co-curricular service learning projects, study abroad or study away trips that have a service component, alternative break trips with a service component, conference presentation opportunities, applied or community-based research projects, or internships in the public sector.”
The director clarified that faith-based projects that do not contain evangelism and proselytizing would be acceptable, rationalizing the ban on those involving the aforementioned elements by noting that WKU was a state-funded, public school.
"We have students from all walks of life accessing these funds...for a wide variety of applied learning experiences," Ashwill told Campus Reform. "To suggest that there are bias issues...would be completely false."
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