Experience Vanderbilt is a unique program that has seen rapid growth through its short history. In the fall of 2013, Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) under President Isaac Escamilla began brainstorming solutions to bridge the gap between the cost of Vanderbilt’s extracurricular experiences and the student body’s ability to afford such experiences. Vanderbilt’s implementation of Opportunity Vanderbilt brought greater socioeconomic diversity to Vanderbilt’s student body, and subsequently, the number of students with monetary barriers to participation in extracurricular activities increased.
Under President Tanner Owen, VSG continued searching for a solution through meetings with many administrators. In January 2015, he surveyed the student body to determine the impact of extracurricular activities, the extent of monetary barriers, and the desire of students to participate in extracurricular activities if cost was not a barrier.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, a team of VSG members led by Lindsay Edwards completed a program proposal for Experience Vanderbilt. The pilot program was launched in the fall of 2016 under the leadership of Katherine Nash and Ryan Connor, and it distributed $35,000. EV distributed over $68,000 in 2017 and over $216,000 in 2018. We hope to continue expanding EV’s available funds with the goal of establishing a campus community that is financially accessible and inclusive of all students.