A collaboration between students and Eastern Mennonite University's development office, EMU Crowdfunding Campaigns will promote student-focused, student-driven and student-benefited projects.

Initial EMU crowdfunding campaigns to fund solar boost, MJ Sharp scholarship

An Eastern Mennonite University crowdfunding campaign is closing in on covering the cost of a student-initiated solar project that will boost the university’s solar output by 40 percent.

The Student Solar Panel Project (SSPP) is one of two campaigns featured with the new EMU Crowdfunding venture, a joint effort by students and the EMU development office to promote student-focused and student-driven projects.

The second campaign is for the MJ Sharp Peace and Justice Endowed Scholarship, which will provide approximately $5,000 per year for graduate students studying conflict transformation and restorative justice with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.

The collaborative nature of EMU Crowdfunding brings together students and Development, “an interface that doesn’t automatically happen, given the spheres in which we operate,” said Braydon Hoover, associate director of development. “It has been both a joy and source of motivation to work with such dedicated and inspiring groups of students on these campaigns,” he said.

“This collaboration sets a precedent for a new type of partnership, which has positive returns for everyone involved,” said senior Harrison Horst, who initiated the solar project. “I couldn’t be happier that Development is as excited as they are to join us in working towards our goal.”

The $12,000 solar panel project crowdfunding goal will be matched by an anonymous donor who wishes to inspire young people with the importance of carbon neutrality.

Applications for additional campaigns will be received starting in August. Projects included in EMU Crowdfunding Campaigns will reflect a variety of tangible and intangible projects (such as solar panels or scholarships, respectively) and the diversity of EMU’s undergraduate and graduate programs and fields of study, as well as sync with overall university strategies and priorities, Hoover said.

“When we team up, anything is possible,” he said. “The SSPP started as a desire to help EMU with its environmental sustainability efforts and is now an almost fully-funded initiative, and the MJ Sharp endowment will not only help students interested in peace, justice, and service around the world receive the education they need to be successful in these endeavors, it also is a reminder of the transformative nature of this university. To see the gifts roll in in support of each of these projects is both humbling and inspiring at the same time.”