Interview with Alex Pawlowski | UVA Student Council

Alex Pawlowski was a GIFT recipient in the 2012-2013 grant cycle. He received funds to put in a bike fix-it station at Student Health and the program has since expanded to several bike fix-it stations around Grounds. His is an example of a small, but successful project that was funded by the GIFT Grant. Read on for an interview with Alex!

Why did you start your project (ex. did you see a need that was not being filled or a problem that needed to be addressed?)

For Sustained Mobility, I started the idea in September after hearing about a desire for groups within the Environmental Impact Subcommittee (of the University Committee on Sustainability) to develop long-term plans for their group. Rather than have my group of fellow students within Green Grounds work with UVa Parking and Transportation to draft together ideas, I decided instead to leverage this partnership to put together an event based on previous success of my Sustaina events last Spring semester and the Fall for a workshop geared towards gathering input of the community, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff to draft a long-term proposal with the help of Parking and Transportation’s on-call consultants at Kimberly-Horn.

How did you learn about the GIFT Grant?

I first found out about the GIFT Grant when it debuted my second year, when Green Grounds applied for funding for a mobile garden and rain barrel installation at the Fine Arts Café. Since then I have had the great opportunity to be a part of an accepted GIFT Grant submission since.

What work did you have to make sure was completed before applying for the Grant?  (ex. what approvals did you secure, etc.)

Although a little bit last minute, woops, needed to secure Parking and Transportation’s approval of the project and sell them on the idea. In addition, my group had to come up with enough of an idea to create a proposal within a short 3 week window including the format and funding we would need to obtain.

What would you have done without funding from the GIFT Grant?  Would your project have been able to succeed without this funding?  

We would have probably tried to dip into some funding from Green Grounds at the expense of catering options for other events Green Grounds puts on. For the funding of the consultants, we could not have done this event at the same capacity, something that we will have better realization of when we receive the first draft of the long-range plan the consultants have put together.

Was it easy to communicate with members of the grant committee?

Absolutely, even though I have done the process in the past, it felt that communication wasn’t any different because I had done it before: that is to say, the communication was stellar with all of the members of the committee.

Was it easy to follow the reimbursement process?

Very easy, we were actually able to get a receipt from our caterer (Rev Soup) to actually have it purchased via our GIFT Grant rather than reimbursement. In past years, reimbursement has been painless and quick.

Did you feel like the committee supported you whenever you ran into challenges or if you had a delay in your accomplishments?

While we didn’t have any challenges or issues this year, in the past, when we had a hiccup or two, the committee was very awesome at helping us through our challenges.