A group of parents of Northern Arizona University students has taken the entire student body under its wing with a grant program that is helping enrich learning experiences across campus.

The newly formed Parent Leadership Council is spearheading an effort to help finance academic funding requests from departments and professors. Earlier this month the council awarded its first round of grants, totaling more than $23,000 across eight different programs.

“Our focus is on relatively small micro-grants of up to $3,500,” explained Bob Beck, director of the council. “These awards will immediately impact students across the university.”

The council bases its funding considerations on proposals that are related to a specific course, curriculum or broader NAU initiative, have an academic sponsor such as a college dean or professor, and that articulate the expected educational enhancement resulting from project funding.

Among the initiatives the council recently funded:

  • $3,500 to the Engineering program to spearhead student research on traffic signal hardware and software engineering
  • $3,000 as part of an ongoing effort to provide thin-client computing technology across campus
  • $2,800 to Future Native American Educators that will help bring a guest lecturer to campus to speak about
    Native American heritage
  • $3,010 for the Visual Communication program to purchase updated software for its visual design lab so
    students stay current with the latest graphic technologies
  • $3,500 to NAU’s Engineers without Borders to assist students with travel expenses to Ghana
  • $2,000 to a Nursing Travel Fund that will offset costs incurred by students who travel to various locations
    as part of their clinical rotations
  • $3,150 to the Botany Club for a 4,000-gallon water tank to collect snowmelt and monsoon water
    from NAU rooftops that will be used to cultivate indigenous and heirloom vegetables
  • $2,105 to help provide art and museum education students with innovative ways to teach meaningfully through art

The council will review and consider proposals on a monthly basis, and is already focused on its next round of grants. To be considered for project funding, contact Beck at (623) 824-4020 or Robert.Beck@nau.edu to request an application.

Parents and employers interested in helping to fund current or future projects can view proposals online.