Is there a single college campus where stress does not exist? The answer, unfortunately, is no. On every single college campus in the United States, stress comes in all shapes and sizes students part of the higher learning system and for many, stress comes in the form of financial responsibilities.
In some way, shape, or form, many students encounter financial obligations while in college, whether it be paying for tuition, groceries or extra-curricular activities to take their focus off of school and redirect it to fun.
Sonoma State University’s Scholarship Program held its 38th annual scholarship awards ceremony in the Student Center Ballroom on Friday, where 237 students were awarded scholarships out of 600 who applied. Many of these high-achieving students received multiple awards. In all, the scholarship program gave out $365,000 of extra aid to students with impressive resumes with the average GPA of students receiving scholarships is a 3.8 out of 4.
The event was a chance for the scholarship committee, a team of 25 individuals, donors and recipients to celebrate not only the hard work of Sonoma State students, but the generosity of the donors who make this possible, as well as the volunteer committee who get paid in personal satisfaction in making an investment in a student’s future.
The committee does not just randomly select the recipients, each application gets read twice, so 600 applications were read twice, for a total of 1200 reads. Once the reads are done, a selection process takes place while planning for this event in still a priority.
Laurie Ogg, member of the scholarship committee and director of annual giving and alumni relations, kicked off the festivities with a brief introduction for the Chair of the University Committee Douglas Jordan.
“We are here to recognize and congratulate those students who go above and beyond with what they do,” said Jordan, “This event is a culmination of a year’s work on behalf of the committee, and the years of work put in by these recipients to be in the position they are in today.”
After Jordan gave a speech challenging students to engage their mind in all they do and citing Henry David Thoreau as the inspiration for the direction of the wise words, President of Sonoma State Ruben Armiñana took center stage.
“The value of this award transcends any monetary value,” said Armiñana, “I don’t view them as gifts, these are [donors] who deliberately made an investment in you, [the recipients]. Those investments will pay off significantly in the future.”
According to many speakers at the award ceremony, the awards are not defined by the monetary value, however, the monetary value is the largest incentive to uphold such a high GPA and build a resume that speaks volumes for college students.
The people who earned these awards come from various backgrounds with unique experiences that give a changed perspective of what the award means to them.
“Scholarships provides an opportunity that I didn’t have before,” said Matt Lindberg, fourth year liberal studies and acting major, “[Scholarships] gave me the advantage where I wasn’t capable. Having the opportunity to expand my horizons within and out of this institution.”
The additional funds that these students receive help relieve the pressures of the outside world and allows them to focus more on taking care of their education.
Lindberg got a scholarship toward studying abroad, however he chose to spend that scholarship at Ohio State University, where he interned with the Mentorship Initiative for the Student Life.
The impact of a scholarship on easing the lives of college students is undoubtable to the many recipients.
“[The scholarship committee] don’t get a penny, they get enormous joy from awarding their students,” said Arminana, “They’ve committed their lives to educating these students.”
To learn more about how to apply for scholarships, how to become a donor or just stay up to date with the Scholarship Committee, visit sonoma.edu/scholarships.
The application for Sonoma State scholarships for the 2016/17 school year is Jan. 15.