The Journey Grant program at William Jewell College provides students with the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. They can be used to develop a student’s academic and personal interests. Journey Grants for the 2016-2017 school year will be awarded at the end of this week.

The deadline to apply for the 2016-2017 grants was in December and current sophomores and juniors were eligible to apply. Sara Round is the director of Journey Grants and the Center for Global Studies. Round works with students to help them draft their applications.

There are very few limitations on what students can do with their Journey Grants. These are six categories that the project must fall under: academic enrichment; civic engagement; leadership development; professional development; study abroad; or undergraduate research. The program intentionally has few limitations to allow students to gain experiential-learning in areas of their choosing. The grants can be used for self-designed or sponsored projects.

A standard Journey Grant is $2,000. This money can go towards transportation, housing, supplies or a stipend. Up to $4,000 can be awarded to students whose proposals are deemed exceptional.

Previous uses of grants include organizing mission trips, learning traditional fiddling techniques in Nashville, creating an app and teaching English in Fiji and Kenya. Grants are also often used as stipends for unpaid internships of at least 240 hours.

Most found the application quick and simple. Johanna Alpert, sophomore biology major, completed the process relatively easily.

“The process of applying was relatively simple and straightforward. The most difficult part was allocating the amount of money needed for certain items such as room and board for my specific project because I had to research Australian living expenses. However, the Journey Grant Office has a huge number of pre-set journeys to chose from, all of which have every expense figured out. It merely comes down to filling out the application, which took no more than 45 minutes at the most,” said Alpert.

Blair Sundhausen, sophomore nonprofit leadership major, also found the process to facilitate students’ changing needs.

“I applied for mine in one night, and it was relatively simple. Even if you don’t know what you’re going to do with the grant, you can always apply for it and then amend it later,” said Sundhausen.

Both Alpert and Sundhausen intend to use their Journey Grants to travel abroad. Alpert plans work with animals and conservation efforts.

“I plan on traveling outside of the United States with my Journey Grant, hopefully to Australia. My goal is to get an internship working at the Australia Zoo. While I’m not sure entirely what I’ll be doing in Australia, I can’t give up the opportunity to travel abroad in college,” said Alpert.

Sundhausen plans to use her grant to volunteer in Guatemala with Friends of San Lucas. This is an organization dedicated to building the community in the town of San Lucas Toliman.

“I chose to work for a service organization rather than study abroad because service is a core component in my life. As a nonprofit major I feel like I could benefit from working with a volunteer organization like Friends of San Lucas. I chose to volunteer with Friends of San Lucas because I think it is important to volunteer with an organization that doesn’t look down upon the community it’s serving, but is living with the community,” said Sundhausen.

Both Sundhausen and Alpert are hoping to receive over the minimum $2,000 of funding, as their projects are long-term.

“There are a lot more expenses with this trip because it’s international, volunteer-based and long-term. I would have to pay for my living expenses while I am over there, which could get pretty pricey. Fingers crossed that the big man in the Journey Grant office is feeling generous,” said Sundhausen.

Even with just the standard $2,000 offered by the grant, the opportunity is one that is unique to the Jewell experience.

“There really isn’t any excuse for students not applying for a journey grant. How often in your life is someone going to give you $2,000 to do what you’re passionate about?” said Sundhausen.

Feature photo by Kyle Rivas.