Students with a sweet tooth and some extra coins can take that small change jingling in their pockets and make a big change in someone else’s life. Thanks to the Harry T. Kase Memorial Dining Service Scholarships, grabbing a handful of Mike and Ikes or Reese’s Pieces puts cash in deserving students’ pockets. Rachel Phelps is a full-time student, single parent and employee of UMD Dining Services. She was really strapped for cash, so she took on more hours at work in addition to her senior-year studies. But her hard work paid off with more than just a paycheck.
“I thought it was a really nice, unexpected occurrence — people thought I worked hard enough to be awarded,” Phelps said. “It was really helpful to me.”
More than 300 students work in Dining Services, and all 300 are eligible for the scholarship that Phelps received. About 75 students get a $200–$300 Kase scholarship once a year.
“Our student scholarships are based off of performance and doing a good job with school,” said Liz Abrahamson, associate director of Dining Services.
Phelps likes working for Dining Services because it allows for flexibility with her history courses, and she enjoys meeting a lot of new students on campus by working with them.
Funding for the scholarship comes from the Harry T. Kase memorial, as well as the little coin-operated candy machines found throughout campus.
Candy machines that help fund the scholarship can be found on all three floors of Kirby Student Center. The big gumball machine outside the Food Court and one small machine that sells chocolate covered coffee beans in the coffee shop also share the love, but with most students swiping cards for their candy, Abraham says funds aren’t overflowing.
“What we make on the candy machines might only go to one student,” she said. “If people are going to get candy or gum, they are going to go to the UMD stores or to Grab-N-Go. Nowadays kids don’t really have change or dollars on them; they just have their U Card or credit card.”
Abrahamson said the amount of the scholarship “depends on how many quarters take their turn,” and how much money is available from the Kase fund.
“For something that is as small as it is, I’d have to say it’s stayed about the same for the last ten years we’ve had those machines,” Abrahamson said.
The scholarship might help students buy just one textbook, but Abrahamson points out that it’s one less expense to come out of the pockets of student employees of Dining Services.
“(Phelps) is so worthy of a scholarship,” she said. “We don’t make a lot money to give a big scholarship; we wish we could.”
The next recipients for this sugary scholarship will be decided within the next month. Students working in catering, the Dining Center, Food Court, Northern Shores Coffee and any other Dining Service area are eligible. Abrahamson is happy to be able to do something sweet for students.
“It’s all about the students. Everything in Dining is for the students,” she said.
BY KIM HYATT firstname.lastname@example.org