April 03, 2014

The Green and Gold Student Leadership and Professional Development Grant

Amy Roy Gratton, the Experiential Learning Coordinator at CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre shares information about the Green and Gold Grant and how to make the most of your leadership experience.

Need a little green to invest in yourself and your future?

As summer approaches many students feel a sense of relief and renewal as they focus on goals for the next academic year, planning to be more dedicated and engaged in the next term. If this sounds familiar, and you are seeking opportunities to improve your leadership and citizenship skills, the U of A wants to help you by funding professional development or leadership activities during the summer - helping you to become a leader in your future profession.

The Green and Gold Student Leadership and Professional Development Grant (Green and Gold Grant) is administered by CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre and focuses on professional and leadership development of all students – regardless of it being the start of their leadership journey or at the peak. The Grant is open to all students – including international and graduate students - and all disciplines. We want to invest in you, your future, your education and your career.

The Green and Gold Grant is not partial to high academic achievement or accomplishments. It provides funding to participate in high impact professional development activities that will help students develop a leadership role in their field of interest; gain unique insights into their chosen profession; establish networks vital to professional practice and advancement; enhance their future employability skills, and learn about professional practices in different cultures and contexts.

The possibilities are truly endless – you can apply to any activity that fits the criteria and we will send you anywhere in the WORLD to participate in that professional development or leadership activity. Since its creation in 2011, 226 students have received funding to participate in a number of activities. The range of opportunities is astounding. The Green and Gold Grant has funded students so they can learn about the importance of food sustainability in India, how to stop sexual violence in Africa, how to engineer the blowing up of buildings safely during reconstruction in the US, how to debate like a world-class debater in Germany and how to use music to resolve inter-cultural conflicts.

We encourage you to apply for your own activity – whether it’s one you create on your own or one you find. Application deadlines are based on your activity start date and there are two more application deadlines left this academic year: April 15 for an activity starting in June and May 15 for a July activity start date.

Your application includes a reference letter from a professor on campus, a 500 word essay as well as a few short answer questions asking for a summary of the activity, the planning you've completed to date and a description of how you've been fiscally responsible. To increase your chances of being approved for the Green and Gold Grant, make your responses a personal reflection. The biggest mistake students make is copying and pasting information from the event’s website rather than explaining why this event is so important to them and their professional and leadership development. We want to know how will this activity impact you, your career and your future. Be sure to present your best self through your written communication by visiting the Centre for Writers or the Student Success Centre where they can help you with your essay and grammatical errors.

Students who have received the Green and Gold Grant find the activities they participate in to be highly energetic, enriching and exhausting. Being actively engaged in learning from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (and sometimes later if you engage in social events) can be draining. To make the most of your experience plan accordingly.

  • Make goals for yourself: who do you want to talk to, who do you want to connect with and how do you plan on maintaining these valuable relationships after the event?
  • Find a buddy at the event, especially if you’re attending alone. This will increase the value of the experience by finding someone to share your new found knowledge with. Discuss your experience, the value you've received from your experiences and the plans you will make when you return to school. Verbalizing your goals will hold you more accountable to achieving them.
  • Make time for reflection: what did you learn, what would you have changed, what did you enjoy and how will you implement the things you've learned into your everyday life? If you don't take time to reflect and dissect the experience, life will get in the way and you will lose the opportunity to implement what you've learned to become a better person and a better leader.

Leadership and professional development are valued by the University of Alberta community and we are pleased that the Green and Gold Student Leadership and Professional Development Grant is generously funded by donors to the Annual Fund, to whom we are very grateful. For more information on the Green and Gold Grant, please visit www.greenandgoldgrant.ualberta.ca.