18 SLU Groups Awarded 1,800 Dollars


Last year, the Center for Community Engagement and Service announced that the end of Make A Difference Day was upon us. As SLU students mourned the loss of the beloved day, the Center wasted no time to begin a new project – the 1818 Grant Program.

The 1818 Program “is a way to empower students and create their own community engagement experiences,” said Bobby Wassel, Assistant Director of the Center.

Although new, the response to the Grant was much higher than expected. While the Center planned for around 30 applicants, 53 groups submitted their proposals since it opened in early September.

The decision process was not an easy one. A committee of faculty and students chose their top 18 applicants, then the Center approved a final 18 from their choices. According to Wassel, the hardest part was that only one of every three applications got approved.

Some of the grant-winning 18 groups include a pollinator program that builds 20 different bee gardens at elementary schools across St. Louis to help the bee population and also educate the youth of the growing bee problem; a similar project is of three engineering groups who teamed up to create a robotics class for students in the Ville neighborhood.

These students “rarely have access to any sort of STEM education or fun robotics things to kind of create a sense of wonder and awe in robotics and engineering” said Wassel.

Wassel is currently getting the same sense from his job after starting the Program. “I’ve been here 13-years, and this is unequivocally one of the best programs that we’ve had here at SLU. Certainly, one that is giving me so much energy and joy,” about meeting with the students and talking about their anxiousness to begin working.

“It reminds me why I love working here and why I love SLU students,” he proudly said.

The 1818 Grant Program not only gives Wassel and his team a reason to feel passionate about their work, but SLU students get to finally be the change they wish to see in their community.

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