The Associated Students of UNM, Chartwells and UNM Food Services have partnered to offer a new scholarship providing “Food 4 Lobos.”
The trio of organizations are collaborating to create two new, needs-based scholarships that will provide students with a full-year meal plan, allowing them to eat at La Posada and other locations on campus.
Kyle Biederwolf, ASUNM president, said the application specifies two available Teal Meal plans, which have a total value of $7,400 over the course of one year. The scholarships require applicants to be enrolled full time at UNM, and they cannot be an elected or appointed official for ASUNM.
The application, which is due Friday and can be found on the ASUNM website, states that ASUNM and UNM Food Services recognize the economic hardships students may face. Applicants are asked a series of questions about their level of education and need, with a 500-word explanation of why this scholarship would allow them to be the best Lobo they could be.
In creating these new meal plan scholarships, the organizations hope to provide financial aid to students demonstrating need and academic commitment.
Funding for the scholarships is being provided by Chartwells, and Resident District Manager Paul Wilson-Scott said the company regularly sets funds aside for similar scholarships.
Along with the newly created meal aid, this money will also contribute to the Presidential Scholarship and several Lobo athlete scholarships.
Timothy Backes, associate director of business operations and campus dining services for Chartwells, worked in collaboration with Wilson-Scott to establish contracts and allocate the necessary funding.
Together, Backes said they decided to evenly split the money for ASUNM and the Graduate and Professional Student Association to decide what each group thought the best use of the money would be.
From there, Biederwolf and his team came up with the idea for “Food 4 Lobos.”
“I think as ASUNM, we’re always looking for more scholarships that we can give back to the students,” Biederwolf said, “and this presented a great opportunity.”
Biederwolf credits Chartwells for the inspiration behind these scholarships.
“Chartwells does a lot for the students and we can give all the praise to them. They’re always trying to take steps forward to give back to the students as much as they can,” he said.
The scholarship, which was announced early last week on ASUNM’s Facebook page, initially sparked some debate over its original title -- the “Starving Student” scholarship, which some deemed was in bad taste.
After receiving several comments from the community, Biederwolf said they decided to re-brand the scholarship in a more professional way.
“We think that ‘Food 4 Lobos’ embodies more of what the scholarship actually means. So we took in that feedback from the community and we decided to switch the name,” he said.
ASUNM and the UNM Food Scholarship Committee will be tasked with choosing the recipients of the scholarships.
This year the committee will consist of Biederwolf, ASUNM Chief of Staff Delia Brennan and Director of Communications Gabe Gallegos, along with Backes and Wilson-Scott.
In the future, Biederwolf said he hopes to include past recipients of the scholarship on the selection committee.
“You can only be awarded this scholarship once; whoever gets it this year can’t apply for it next year. So we’re going to encourage and ask that they sit on the committee next year to decide who gets the scholarship,” he said.
This collaboration is not the first time Chartwells and UNM Food Services have partnered with ASUNM, Backes said, as they also help to organize Late Night Breakfast and Student Success Week.
“Chartwells and UNM Foods partner on so many things,” he said. “But this is something really unique. Paul and I get to meet the people that this is going to, see them at La Posada and ask them how their meal plan is. There’s a connection to the students.”
With the application being due during the first week of classes, Biederwolf said he wants to be able to get this money to students as soon as possible so they can have food for the entirety of the school year.