"If you serve you last." - Toni Morrison 2013 Nichols-Chancellor's Medal Award Winner

About the Nichols Humanitarian Fund

"Demand things of the world and if they don't do it then change the world to suit the demands."

The Nichols Humanitarian Fund was established in 2006 by the E.C. and Lucile Hamby Nichols Trust, and by Edward C. Nichols, Jr. (JD ’70) and his wife, Janice Nichols.  The Fund sponsors Vanderbilt’s annual Senior Day speaker during Commencement Weekend, and encourages Vanderbilt students to become better citizens of the world and to broaden their thinking by volunteering for humanitarian efforts.   The Fund enables students to volunteer for local, domestic, or international humanitarian service opportunities by making support available for educational, travel, and living expenses during their time of service.

All currently enrolled Vanderbilt students are eligible to receive assistance from the Fund, provided that they are citizens or permanent residents of the United States.  Preference will be given to undergraduate students who have not yet completed their baccalaureate degrees.

Students are encouraged to develop their own service opportunities in communities where they can work to address an area of need.   In past years, students have served in communities all over the world, including Australia, Costa Rica, New Orleans, and India.  Funding can also be used to participate in established Vanderbilt offerings, including:
  • Alternative Spring Break (ASB) or Alternative Winter Break (AWB) programs
  • The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) summer programs in Ecuador, Ghana, London, Namibia, South Africa, or Zanzibar
  • The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) first-year service immersion program in Morocco
  • The Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement (VISAGE)
  • Chinese Studies and Service Learning in Beijing
  • Service Learning at the University of Cape Town
  • Summer Public Health in the Dominican Republic

Humanitarian Service Awards from the fund are allocated twice yearly.  In the fall semester, applications are available to fund service projects that will be implemented during winter and spring breaks.  In the early spring semester, applications will be available for summer-term service opportunities.   Please continue to visit this page for updated information, and to access and submit your funding application when it becomes available.   If you have any questions about the Nichols Humanitarian Fund or the award application process, please contact Christine Drasba in Vanderbilt University’s Office of Active Citizenship and Service at christine.e.drasba@vanderbilt.edu.