I don’t normally pay too much attention to posters pasted on the inside walls of U of T’s toilet stalls, but last week, one of them caught my eye:
“Do you have a good idea?
The good ideas fund (GIF) Could Support You!”
“What is this?” I wondered. So I promptly wrote Hart House at the given email address and asked for details. Turns out that if you have a great idea for an event (be it a speaker, a fundraising night, a magazine launch), you can fill in an application form, submit it to the Good Ideas Fund (GIF), and have your idea given the once-over by a student panel, which then decides whether or not to fund your good idea.
The simple answer is no. The GIF doesn’t fund projects so much as events, although you’re able to submit any kind of application, and the deciding panel will consider funding those parts of the project that do consist of events. So, for example, the GIF won’t finance the construction of a green roof per se, but might support a fundraising event for a green roof project.
Although all applications are accepted, the GIF normally funds only applications that meet the following stipulations (and I quote):
1. Activities or projects that enhance or have a significant impact on student life on campus.
2. Activities or projects open to all students / that benefit all students.
3. Activities that promote cultural diversity, collaboration and interaction between student groups.
To apply, you submit your information a minimum of four weeks before the event, giving a few details about what you have planned: what type of event you plan to hold, where it will occur, who will show up, whether it’s ongoing or only a one-time deal, how much you think it will cost, what equipment you’ll need, how you plan to promote it, and how it will contribute to student life. Once the event’s over, you must also submit a report highlighting what happened and how it went.
Judging from past events that were approved, the panel is fairly flexible, supporting causes that are humanitarian (Amnesty International Conference — Water: A Human Right?), environmental (David Suzuki at Con Hall), literary (Writers’ Co-op Spoken Word Event), cultural (U of T International Students’ Union — Cultural Talent Show), and health-related (Immunology Students’ Association annual conference).
The other thing to note is that these events are entirely up to you. While Hart House may fund you, you’re still expected to pull the event together.
I thought the GIF sounded like a lot of fun, and a great experience. While we’re all up to our eyeballs in end-of-term papers and exams, there’s always the winter break to conjure up some wonderfully good ideas.