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Take UM Abroad program to help finance student travel

By Giacomo Bologna, Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 4, 2012

In an effort to increase the global impact of University students, Central Student Government has created “Take UM Abroad,” a new program that will award five $1,000 scholarships to students studying abroad next semester.

LSA freshman Nicole Mott, the program’s director, called the program a method of “stamping your ‘M’ on the globe.”

“A lot of times students go abroad and they think, ‘Oh, what am I going to bring back from my trip?’” Mott said. “And this kind of does the opposite, which is, ‘What can I bring to my experience? … How can I literally bring the spirit and passion of being a Michigan Wolverine abroad?’”

Take UM Abroad will cost slightly more than $5,000 when the costs of marketing are accounted for and the funds will be provided through the executive discretionary fund, according to CSG President Manish Parikh, a Business senior. He added that money from the executive discretionary fund is “focused on innovative projects which create impact and innovation.”

Mott said a marketing priority for the program is providing information to University programs related to studying abroad, as well as to clubs that have an interest in trips abroad — specifically the International Institute, the International Center and the Center for Global and Intercultural Study.

“If students are going abroad to take classes or to do research or for an internship, this is something that they’re doing in addition to that to really bring U of M with them on their trip,” she said.

While the program is only funded for the Winter 2013 semester, Parikh said its success or failure could determine whether or not it becomes institutionalized.

Mott, who helped create the program as a CSG intern, is reflective of the success of the newly revived CSG interns program. Parikh said in years past there had been an intern program with what was then called the Michigan Student Assembly.

“I think the emphasis of the (former) interns program — if there was one and whatever capacity it was — was to get interns to do manual things, coffee, print things,” Parikh said. “This interns program is like grooming and blooming things on campus.”

Mott said she has not fetched a single cup of coffee as an intern and that she doesn’t see that happening in the future.

“I think being an intern involves a lot of things. Yes, there are the practical kinds of menial tasks that you have to do,” she said. “(Parikh) and the rest of the executive board really want (the interns) to learn skills … the skills of thinking of big ideas and reaching out to the organizations on campus.”