Last semester, the Student Government Association, or SGA, announced it was sponsoring a book scholarship, and four winners were announced earlier in January. Each student was awarded $150.
Participants had to be full-time students, have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA, submit an essay explaining why they should receive the scholarship, display a financial need and could not be a member of SGA. The winners received their award's electronically.
During the campaign for the last election, SGA Vice President Bre'Anna Locke, a graduate student from Dallas majoring in accounting and SGA President Christopher Moore, a senior sports business major from Carrollton, wanted to provide an opportunity for students to get some extra help with school funds.
“I researched what other universities' SGAs were doing,” Locke said. “I saw that some offered book scholarships. I thought that this would be a great opportunity for SGA to help alleviate the financial burdens of students in need, especially during his unprecedented time.”
Both Locke and Moore looked into the logistics on how they would be able to sponsor the scholarship and received good feedback from the Senate.
“Our organization's mantra is ‘We are the voices for the students. We are for the students by the students,'" Moore said. "So, any way we can help is always welcomed."
There were a total of 15 entries, and the decision process took a few weeks to review and agree on the winners.
“It was a group effort,” Locke said. “Our executive board, which consists of the secretary, the chief justice, the sergeant at arms, the speaker of the Senate, the student body vice president and the student body president. Together, we made the decision based on the criteria listed on the flyer.”
Those who did not win were given resources provided by interim Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Hollie Smith. They included where to apply for the emergency aid fund and information to help students to succeed such as knowing how to contact the professor when looking for a class book.
Hailey May, a junior nursing major from Montgomery, was one of the four winners. May found out about the scholarship via Twitter and submitted her entry; she was notified of her award through email.
“I felt surprised and grateful for winning the scholarship,” May said. “This is my first semester in nursing school, and textbooks are very expensive. So this was very helpful to me.”
With it only being the first semester of hosting the scholarship, Moore said they and Locke are proud of the outcome and hope this will continue even after they leave their positions.
“We are hoping that next semester this carries on and that the budget increases for the students overall,” Moore said. “The book scholarship, in general, was a stepping stone for whatever we can do in the future. And, I'm extremely grateful for the people that applied, and I'm very sorry for the people that we had to reject.”