As part of a newly launched scholarship initiative, one student could win up to $3,000 for creating a plan to solve a problem on the University of Wisconsin campus.

The Associated Students of Madison Foundation is now accepting submissions
for the Campus Idea Scholarship, a first annual scholarship which would aim to improve accessibility and create solutions to common problems.

Matt Manes, the programming director for the ASM Foundation who drafted the Campus Idea Scholarship, said the group wanted to enable students to tackle issues on campus while making college more accessible.

“This is another way to identify solutions to longstanding problems, and by having them submit, we now have that identification and a blueprint as to how to make things better,” Manes said.

The proposal has to be roughly five pages in length and must include a problem, the applicant’s solution to it and the details behind both the problem and the proposed solution, said Brandon Williams, chair of the ASM Foundation Board of Directors.

Manes said following previous student governments, there was about $50,000 set aside for use by the new student government.

“After almost 20 years, we could either keep the money in a rainy day fund … or we could actually do something with it,” Manes said.

Williams added they thought a natural way to help make higher education possible was to give financial aid to students in the form of a scholarship with the set aside funds.

For the past year-and-a-half, the ASM Foundation has held quarterly meetings in which many different ideas, including the scholarship, were discussed regarding the use of these funds, Manes said.

“This really goes back to the idea of having problems identified and having a way to solve them because someone, somewhere has a really good idea,” Manes said.

Williams added they wanted to do something with the mission of ASM itself in mind, prompting the decision to offer a scholarship for an idea that can be used to improve the campus.

The idea is based on rewarding someone for their idea with a more affordable college experience and is not just based on a student’s grade point average, Williams said.

Manes added the ASM Foundation does not know what kind of proposals they will receive, and that they are hoping for ingenious and creative proposals for problems that may be unexpected.

“For the students, it is about making college more accessible because we are not simply priced out of an education,” Manes said.

Williams said students can apply by visiting the ASM Foundation’s website and clicking a link for the scholarship.

The first place prize ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, based on financial need, according to the foundation’s website.

Williams added up to three honorary mentions can be made if the board wants to honor anyone who did not win first place. Honorable mentions in the contest are awarded for $500 to $1,000.

The ASM Foundation began in 2005 with the purpose of supplementing what ASM does as well as helping the campus at large from a perspective that involves students and alumni, Williams said.