Feb 5, 2021 | NEWS | By Evan Rao | Illustration by Bibi Powers

A new opportunity has opened up for Colorado College students who want to pursue an independent project focused on problem solving and changemaking. The Student Seed Innovation Grants’ mission is to be an “idea accelerator by providing resources for students to be creative problem solvers, to embrace ambiguity, and to iterate a project/idea forward.” Decidedly formed with few constraints, the grants are meant to allow students to approach a diverse range of issues that they are passionate about. The grants range from $3,000 to $8,000, with individuals able to apply for grants up to $6,000, and teams of two able to apply for grants up to $8,000.

All students enrolled and taking classes at CC are eligible to receive a Student Seed Innovation Grant (SSIG). Seniors applying need to consider a few factors, namely that they submit their application for the grant prior to or during the month of their graduation, and they complete their project within 12 months of graduation. Any CC student who expresses a genuine passion and interest in working on a project is encouraged to apply.

Despite being generally open ended, the SSIG does have some specific guidelines. Each SSIG project must have a project mentor, a person there to offer guidance, support, and feedback throughout the project implementation process. Also, all grants must be designed to be completed under a 12-month timeframe. Students may only receive one grant per year, and proposed projects need not be framed as a business. Finally, grants are not intended to be used for the following: funding patent applications, renting office space, or hiring professional services to complete the project.

When selecting a mentor, students should look among CC faculty, staff members, or community members. Mentors must submit a letter of recommendation for the project prior to its approval and should be kept up to date throughout the project, meeting with group members or individuals once a month. In addition to the mentor’s letter of recommendation, students also need a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

The SSIG submission process is relatively straightforward. Submissions are due the final Wednesday of blocks 1, 3, J, 5, and 7. Those who receive grants are notified by the end of the second week of block 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8. Grants are to be submitted through Summit, and must include the letters of recommendation described above, an official college transcript for each member, and official student account statements. Depending on project and focus, students must receive approval from various review boards, such as the Institutional Review Board (if working with humans), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (if working with animals), and the Center for Global Education and Field Study (if traveling abroad).

Those who receive grants will get them in two halves, the first half up front, the second after a midway progress report on the project is submitted. After the project is completed, within a 12-month time frame, students need to submit a final budget statement and a reflection on the project in the form of an essay or a presentation.

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