I should probably tell you a little bit about where the rest of the money ended up coming from, and why I needed to fundraise in the first place. I decided to take on the internship in late December, and immediately started exploring options for funding. I found out about the public interest fund at school, which grants $3000 dollar stipends for public interest work. I started volunteering with them in order to qualify for a stipend. Unfortunately those stipends aren't granted until the end of April, and I was uneasy about getting knee deep in travel plans to Peru without knowing if I'd actually receive a stipend or not.
As a result I continued to explore other options. I found out that I could take out a student loan, but only if I was getting school credit for my activities. I immediately went about trying to find out how I could get credit for my internship so I could take out a loan. I was told that all externships would be discussed in future meetings, that they'd get back to me in a week, in two more weeks, etc. In the end I was not feeing confident about my chances of securing a student loan.
In the meantime I was emailing and calling all kinds of people looking for sponsorships and grants. I was coming up empty handed, and eventually came up with the idea for this fundraiser. I had a lot of fun putting it all together and seeing how people came together to help me out was really inspiring. The cleaning, not so much.
I found out on April 23rd that my internship had been approved for externship credit, which means I would qualify for a student loan. I also found out that receiving academic credit for the internship disqualified me from receiving a public interest grant, which seems a little silly to me, but whatever. The point is I was able to secure a loan for the rest of my expenses.
Even with the loan, I would not have been able to make the trip without this fundraiser. I will not be receiving my loan money for another couple of weeks, which is essentially when I'll be leaving for Peru. I was in such a strange position all semester long--I needed money for this trip, and the only people who seemed willing to even consider doing it weren't going to be making decisions about it until late April or May. This fundraiser made it possible for me to start planning my trip, arranging the travel and getting ready without waiting on the administration or the financial aid office to decide whether or not I was worthy of a loan.
In the end I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped out. I will keep everyone updated on my other blog, www.stateofthestephen.blogspot.com. Check it out periodically throughout the summer.