The organization formerly known as the Green Fund has undergone significant changes this semester. The grant funding committee is changing its name to the Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability (CAFES), and will be incorporating the Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and the College of Law into the fund starting in the fall.
Currently, CAFES financially supports a variety of projects across campus, offering several rounds of funding for mini grants (fewer than $3,000), and one firm deadline for annual grants, which are projects with budgets over $3,000. The committee is made up of eight voting student members, with various staff and faculty members playing non-voting advising roles. Over the past few years, CAFES has funded water bottle refilling stations across campus, lighting in the Willamette Academy building, student attendance at the Oregon Students of Color Conference, wages for coordinators of the SOAR Center, menstrual cups and condoms in the Student Center for Equity and Empowerment (E&E) and more. Funds come from a $25 fee that students have the option to pay at the beginning of each semester, and committee members try to ensure that accepted grants benefit as many students as possible.
According to CAFES Project Advisor Olive Murdoch Meyer (‘21), the name of the committee was changed to better reflect the group’s values and expand the possibilities of grant opportunities to include social justice and equity projects.
“It signifies our commitment to the values that we have been assessing proposals for for a long time. The word ‘green’ didn’t signify that by any means, so this new name shows our commitment to what we’re looking for in the proposals that we fund on this campus,” she said.
CAFES members voted on the new name before Spring Break, after spending weeks brainstorming and compiling survey data from past project coordinators. The official announcement of the change was sent to the Willamette community on April 10 in an email from Co-Chair Gonzalo Garcia Reyes (‘19).
Planning for the merger between CAFES and WU’s two graduate schools began last year, when CAFES members worked with student leadership at AGSM and Willamette Law to evaluate their interest in being included in the fund. According to Co-Chair Adrianna Nicolay (‘19), the first year of the collaboration will be a pilot project, with the two schools appointing representatives to serve on CAFES. However, the committee will impose a cap on graduate school projects for the time being.
“Our hope is that this will promote equitable funding of proposals, recognizing that the graduate schools would contribute less to the fund than the College of Liberal Arts,” she said.
Furthermore, annual grants proposed by AGSM or Willamette Law are required to be beneficial to at least two of the three schools involved.
Currently, inclusion of Claremont School of Theology (CST), which is set to arrive on campus in fall of 2019, hasn’t been determined, but will likely be taken into more serious consideration once CST arrives at Willamette.
Although applications for new committee members closed recently, students are encouraged to apply for positions during the spring of 2020, and submit project proposals during any of CAFES’ funding rounds.