RUSA grants swipe funds to Future Scholars
The Rutgers University Student Assembly yesterday chose the next charitable organization to receive fundraising benefits from the meal sign-away program.
In a room fit for no more than 40 people, RUSA members awarded the Rutgers Future Scholars program the opportunity to receive meal swipe donations from the biannual program.
RUSA members assured representatives from Give Kids the World, an organization providing children with life-threatening illnesses free vacations to Florida, the decision was tough and the cause of their organization was just as important.
RUSA President Yousef Saleh said although it was a difficult choice, the opportunity to invest in future University students must be acted upon.
"[RUSA] members came to the consensus that their hearts were really warmed by the [the program's] presentation," said Saleh, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. "So much so that they were won over by them."
The Rutgers Future Scholars program provides financial help to underprivileged eighth graders from communities in the University area and creates a gateway to higher education, said Joey Remsen, a representative for the organization.
"We select 200 of the most promising students whose parents could not afford to go college," said Remsen, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. "We're just trying to alleviate one of the biggest educational inequalities in the country and New Jersey has a large amount."
RUSA Vice President Matthew Cordeiro said the best aspect of the meal sign-away program is it allows such organizations like the Rutgers Future Scholars program to acquire necessary donations.
"It's really great because normally people raise between $10,000 to $15,000 with this program," said Cordeiro, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. "So it's an efficient way where groups can raise a serious amount of money."
Remsen also highlighted the ability of the Rutgers Future Scholars program to fundraise, saying 63 members are already committed to asking students for donations.
"We will have two people at each dining hall for two hours a day," he said. "We're very capable of doing this task of raising funds for future scholars."
Along with a fundraising action plan RUSA members deemed impressive, Remsen provided two young students in the Future Scholars program, Jason Gaines and Yauris Hernandez, to speak on behalf of the program.
"The program enhances our thinking, our activities and gives us something to do after school," Gaines said after reading a poem he composed for the presentation. "We just think that the program is a good start for our future."
Hernandez said she attended a memorial service that morning for a fellow scholar who was stabbed to death and the Rutgers Future Scholars program took care of the expenses.
"This is just an example to show that not only is Rutgers Future Scholars involved in our academics, they are also interested in our daily life and community," she said.
Although they were won over by their cause, RUSA members posed various questions to Remsen to make sure their decision was for the best.
When asked whether a student in the program needed to meet a certain academic standard, Remsen said the scholars program is merit-based and a high grade point average is necessary to stay in the program.
"Any future scholar that you see has good grades," he said. "Their school or teacher will make suggestions on who would be an appropriate scholar for the program."
President of the Roosevelt Institute Bhavin Patel said University support for the Rutgers Future Scholars program decreased with the budget cuts, giving reason to why the organization deserve donations from the meal sign-away program.
"Their funding is very limited as opposed to Give Kids the World," said Patel. "While both [programs] are admirable and great things, I'm for the Rutgers Future Scholars."