MHS Student Government reinstates StuGo grants

Jyotirmayee Chaudhury (left), Shreya Singh (middle), and Ellie Li (right) study for their HOSA event using books bought by
StuGo grants.

Laurel Wang | The Chronicle

The clubs of Mason High School (MHS) have been granted new opportunities.

This year, MHS Student Government (StuGo) reinstated a grant program to provide MHS clubs and activities with funding to achieve their goals. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program had been postponed for several years, but StuGo leaders made reviving it a priority. 

Junior Arushi Gupta serves as the Student Body Treasurer. Along with the other treasurers and student body leaders, Gupta developed the application process, which consists of a Google Form and an interview with group leaders. She said the grant program is part of a greater effort to give back to the community.

“Student Government is a club that tries to reach out to the community and bring the school together,” Gupta said. “The grants are for us to be able to fund other clubs that need it [and] provide that with the right reasoning.”

Six MHS organizations applied for grants to address specific needs. Among them was HOSA – Future Health Professionals (HOSA), a health-sciences club that Biomedical Science students participate in. HOSA promotes health-science education through student competitions on related topics.

With an influx of new members, outdated texts, and the shutdown of an online textbook provider, new textbooks were a priority. But at over $100 per volume, HOSA leaders turned to StuGo for help purchasing new textbooks. 

HOSA President Sanjana Velu felt the application progress was straightforward, and StuGo leaders helped the group identify their specific needs. Velu said that without the grant funding, HOSA students would not be able to adequately prepare for competition.

“We needed that money to get us going with some of the textbooks for this year so our students could study and prepare for competition,” Velu said.

Velu said the grant program benefited both HOSA members and Mason’s community together. 

“Having StuGo be able to support clubs and help them increase their impact on our school and our community is definitely very helpful because a lot of these clubs are doing things that benefit our school,” Velu said. “In HOSA, each and every one of our students are representing Mason at the state and international level, and that’s something that benefits our community as a whole.”

Like HOSA, MHS’s live music club, The AMs, also applied for a StuGo grant to address a club need. Junior Brodie Hansen said in recent practices, band members noticed some of their equipment was breaking down and required replacements.

“We had problems with our XLR cables and some of our speakers, and we wanted to get some percussive instruments for the singers,” Hansen said.

Hansen said the grants will help improve The AMs’ performances with better sound quality and setup, boosting Mason’s community as a whole.

“The AMs are a big part of Mason culture, and this will make it easier for us to deliver an experience for everyone,” Hansen said.

Comet Savings & Loan, the student-run bank at MHS where staff and students can deposit money, expanded its size in its 20 years of operation. As a result, more funding is now needed to support the bank than when it was first started. Senior Riya Zutshi, the Senior Vice President of Analytics at Comet Savings & Loan (CSL), said the bank applied for a StuGo grant to help them maintain their operations.

“We used to only have one marketing team when the bank opened, which was a lot cheaper than having five marketing teams and always having campaigns,” Zutshi said.

By giving students experience with real bank accounts and real money, CSL provides a vital opportunity for students to learn more about money management. Zutshi said the grant would help CSL support their marketing campaigns and offer opportunities in the bank for more students.

“We’re able to give more people an internship experience, which is really what the bank is all about,” Zutshi said. The StuGo grant will allow the bank to continue advertising its campaigns since they do not bring in a profit like other MHS businesses such as the Comet Zone.

StuGo advisor Jeff Schlaeger emphasized the organization’s mission of community outreach within the Mason community. He said that StuGo’s access to resources allows them to better support other clubs and activities within MHS.

“Hopefully [club grants] help them launch into more success than they’re already experiencing to begin with,” Schlaeger said. “It’s really important for something with the name of ‘Student Government’ to support student-led initiatives and give back to our building.”

Photo by Laurel Wang