UF center funds campus, community projects

Published: March 12 2015


The University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service has awarded its first round of Healthy Civic Campus and Community grants. The initiative, which aims to support innovative student projects that improve civic engagement and advance the common good, was launched this year.

“We are surrounded by a great deal of student ingenuity and passion for helping others, but there is not much in the way of financial support for launching such endeavors,” said Emma Humphries, civic engagement coordinator for the Bob Graham Center. “Taking inspiration from the Davis Projects for Peace, which funds international grassroots projects, we decided to provide funding for promising projects at the local level.”

Twelve proposals were received in total. Project proposals took many forms, but all were evaluated based on the same set of criteria which included:  overall objectives; creativity; potential impact; achievability; sustainability; and transferability. Of the twelve proposals submitted, four groups were invited to give presentations before a selection committee and answer questions. The committee included a representative from the Bob Graham Center, the UF Honors Program and the Center for Leadership and Service. Winning teams were awarded funding to help more fully develop and implement their proposals. The following proposals were selected for funding under the 2015 Healthy Civic Campus and Community initiative:

  • Lake Forest Garden

Award amount: $3,400

The project seeks to build a green, vibrant space that can be used as an outdoor classroom and emphasize the importance of eating healthy, the richness of the natural environment and sustainability. The space will also provide a sense of community and personal responsibility for students at Lake Forest Elementary.

  • Project Springboard

Award amount: $1,000

The project aims to utilize art as an effective medium to convey important messages and provide a creative forum for discussion. The project will place displays on campus that promote the thoughtful exchange of ideas. The project will also track the social impact via integrated Internet hashtags, enabling the team to follow its trajectory online.  The project is an outgrowth of UF sophomore Van Truong’s re-creation of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with words on a white board in Marston Science Library. 

  • Familias Unidas

Award amount: $500

This grant will help support the development of a community resource guide geared toward the immigrant community of Gainesville, FL. The funds will be used to help students to improve the content and research alternative distribution mechanisms. This project builds on a plan that was drafted as a final project through the “Diaspora in the Americas” seminar class sponsored by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

“We are excited to watch as these projects take shape. We suspect the students will not only accomplish their stated goals, but also achieve other successes for themselves and our community," Humphries said.