ASW funds students’ passions outside the classroom

Diwas Poudel, a first-year computer science major, attended Adobe Systems’ annual Adobe Max event on Nov. 2. “The Opportunity Fund from the Associated Students of Westminster is [what] made it possible for me to attend this event,” Poudel said. Photo by Diwas Poudel.

Diwas Poudel, a first-year computer science major, attended Adobe Systems’ annual Adobe Max event on Nov. 2. “The Opportunity Fund from the Associated Students of Westminster is [what] made it possible for me to attend this event,” Poudel said. Photo by Diwas Poudel.

While many design industry fans watched the annual Adobe Max 2016 event online, at least two Westminster College students experienced the event live in San Diego.

Diwas Poudel, a first-year student majoring in computer science, said he couldn’t have attended the event had there not been financial support available from the college.

“The Opportunity Fund from the Associated Students of Westminster [ASW] is [what] made it possible for me to attend this event,” Poudel said.

All Westminster students can apply for the Opportunity Fund, now called ASW Opportunities. Those who receive funding are able to take advantage of opportunities held off campus to network toward future careers after college.

Poudel was live at the annual Adobe Max 2016 event held by Adobe Systems on Nov. 2. The purpose of the event was to promote the latest Adobe releases to individuals in the computer design and development industries.

A view from the Adobe Systems’ annual Adobe Max event in San Diego. Diwas Poudel, a first-year student majoring in computer science, said he couldn’t have attended the event had there not been financial support available from ASW’s Opportunity Fund. Photo by Berin Klawiter.

A view from the Adobe Systems’ annual Adobe Max event in San Diego. Diwas Poudel, a first-year student majoring in computer science, said he couldn’t have attended the event had there not been financial support available from ASW’s Opportunity Fund. Photo by Berin Klawiter.

“This was a great experience for me to be part of this huge conference where people from all the big names in tech industry are attending,” Poudel said. “Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle and Microsoft being the sponsors to name a few.”

Berin Klawiter, a junior communication major at Westminster, also attended the Adobe Max event. However, Klawiter said he paid for the trip out of his own pocket because he wasn’t aware of funding opportunities.

“I am pretty sure there was no funding [available],” Klawiter said. “But seriously, it was the most overwhelmingly fun thing I have ever experienced.”

Poudel said travel funds from the School of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Marketing and Communication also took some of the financial weight off his shoulders in addition to the grant from ASW Opportunities.

Westminster College’s student body president Benjamin Pok and vice president Andrey Chen hold a check, donated by President Steve Morgan and the Associated Students of Westminster, during ASW’s annual retreat. The donation helps students with entrepreneurship ideas and initiatives through ASW’s Opportunity Fund, according to ASW. Photo courtesy of Associated Students of Westminster.

Westminster College’s student body president Benjamin Pok and vice president Andrey Chen hold a check, donated by President Steve Morgan and the Associated Students of Westminster, during ASW’s annual retreat. The donation helps students with entrepreneurship ideas and initiatives through ASW’s Opportunity Fund, according to ASW. Photo courtesy of Associated Students of Westminster.

Peter Bennett, a senior history major, also received money from ASW’s Opportunity Fund, which gave him the chance to examine materials at the University of Santa Cruz for his thesis project.

“I was looking for some help in traveling to California to study for my senior history thesis on the Grateful Dead,” Bennett said. “I was able to study in the archive and feel like a true historian for a week, which was awesome.”

Bennett said the trip would have been possible had he not been granted funds from ASW Opportunities but said Westminster’s support made it less stressful.

Wade Lenon, director of budget and accounting for ASW, said ASW wants to assist but is not able to cover all expenses. He said it’s important that students try other options first. Then, ASW Opportunities will step in and see what it can provide to help the student.

“Our cap is $400,” Lenon said. “If you apply as an individual, not as a group, our cap is $400 for that activity. If you apply as a group, then one group, you receive a maximum of $1,200 for that event.”

Poudel said students like him, who max out their hours on campus jobs, often think about paying tuition before spending money on passions outside the classroom.

“Resources like [ASW Opportunities] are huge support,” Poudel said. “[They] motivate students like us to achieve more and be able to stand out in the real world.”