For some students, the door to UAA’s ceramics studio is a gateway—to a shift in career paths, to a new means of artistic expression, to a lifelong obsession. Now, the student artists of Clay Body, a UAA student club, have done something remarkable. They’ve set the wheels in motion (pun groan) to enrich ceramics education for students who haven’t yet walked through that gateway. The president of Clay Body, Bill Jamison, just signed on the dotted line to establish a University of Alaska Foundation’s first endowment funded exclusively by students. When the endowment is fully funded–in about five years–there will be $1,000 available for student awards each year. Clay Body members agreed to earmark a portion of their seasonal pottery sales to build the endowment.
Word on the street for would-be pottery sale attendees: get there early. The students of Clay Body sell hundreds of coveted pieces in their winter and spring pottery sales.
“Each semester there’s a line of people waiting outside the door for us to open, even in the winter. Aside from being our primary source of funding, these events provide students a chance to get paid for their work, which is very gratifying,” Jamison said.
This year, students set aside $1,600 of their spring sale proceeds for the new endowment. When added to savings from previous sales, the students’ initial investment in the endowment topped $6,500.
The minimum needed to fully fund an endowment is $25,000, and the students and their advisor, Associate Professor Steve Godfrey, expect to reach that goal in the next four or five years.
“When Steve [Godfrey] suggested using some of our additional funds to create an endowment, all our members agreed this would be a great way to pay forward the opportunities we’ve been given,” said Jamison.
Godfrey pointed out that few, if any, of the students whose dollars are being funneled into the endowment will benefit directly.
“It’s pretty selfless,” he said. “They’re really thinking about the future and how much they enjoyed the program here.”
Jamie Gonzales, UAA Office of University Advancement