Feed on

So, the only shilling I do at the moment is for my current employer, I’ve turned down a few smaller chances to shill recently in part because I just don’t want to do it, but also in part because I am not in the mood to fight the “I really am not a shill fight” because, you know, I really am.

So, here is the deal. From whom is it acceptable for me to petition to raise money for my students? The annual sum would be somewhere in the $20,000 to $30,000 per year range, with the funds used to:

  • Purchase books
  • Purchase food for weekly or semi-weekly discussion meetings
  • Support students attending seminars and conferences and other events away from Rochester
  • Secure meeting space
  • Provide funding for travel, lodging, shared dinners and compensation for up to 5 speakers for the year to come in
  • Support additional programming and admin support including perhaps a small stipend for a student to take the organizational lead for such an effort
  • Website hosting and audio equipment for recording of programming and events.

There could be much more. And I can provide a lot more detail on what the group might accomplish, but think of it sort of like the Oxford Coffee Club but 21st century style – discussing, studying debating, enjoying reading and conversation on economics, politics, political philosophy, ethics, biology, theater, music, art, and more – a catch all in the true liberal arts tradition. There would not be any planned ideological orientation to the group outside of a shared interest in promoting nerdiness and hopefully good will among all.

But, as I see the landscape, there is not much funding out there available from sponsors who are not in some way in favor of some particular ideology or objective. Are there truly independent nerd funders out there who want to help a group of bright folks engage in a way that a typical college experience sort of rules out? Are there people and sources that would not draw the ire of the unreasonable? That sounds spineless of me, I suppose, but I don’t want to waste my time defending what the young women and men are up to and our motivations, we sort of want to craft an intellectual experience and keep it at that. But, I don’t have a million dollar endowment of my own to fund such a thing (permanently) or tens of thousands of dollars annually that would be useful to make this go well.


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