Students enrolled in Mines’ popular Special Studies in Leadership & Small Group Dynamics class were given an interesting task last semester: distribute nearly $4,000 in cash to deserving student groups on campus.

This was no hypothetical exercise. The funds were donated by alumni who responded to a targeted solicitation from the CSM Foundation. “We reached out to a younger group of alumni,” said Sara Pond, associate director of annual giving, “and got a great response.” The $4,000 was given by Kevin Duffy ’09, Travis Johnson ’03, Aprill Nelson ’08, Megan Starr ’06 and a fifth, anonymous donor.

“This year we refined the community service aspect of the class by gearing it more toward the Mines community and providing a hands-on leadership learning opportunity,” said Marie Hornickel, course facilitator and associate director of student activities.

Course participants broke into committees, developed a grant process, and marketed the opportunity to their peers. More than 35 of Mines’ approximately 150 student groups applied for funding, a third of which were selected for interviews. Student Mike Marlow explains, “We were looking for groups with a well-defined purpose for the grants – groups that probably wouldn’t be able to do without these funds and who would really benefit Mines.”

Six campus groups were awarded grants:

  • Engineers Without Borders: water filtration system development for Navajo Tribe
  • Student Society of Geophysicists: aid for Haiti
  • Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists: field trips for club members
  • Campus Crusade for Christ: Custodian Appreciation Day celebration
  • Cheerleading Squad: Colorado School of Mines uniforms
  • Rock Climbing Team: Colorado School of Mines jerseys
  • Student project leader Hunter Dunham said, “This project was eye-opening, particularly since so many groups applied. Determining how to distribute available funds, while getting the biggest bang for the buck, was quite a challenge.”

    Kevin Duffy ’09 attended the group’s final presentation and was pleased with the impact of his contribution. “The students taking the class clearly got a lot out the process, as did I – it’s great to see exactly where a donation ends up.”

    Building on the success of this year’s program, plans are under way to incorporate a similar project into next spring’s leadership course.