Innovation Grant for Students

Innovation Grant for Students

At Melbourne Girls Grammar, for the first time in 2020, we extended an offer to students to apply for our Innovation Grant Program. The Program seeks to champion a culture of innovation by promoting, fostering and recognising student entrepreneurship and student-led innovative projects. It required students to submit a detailed proposal of how they plan to turn an innovative idea into reality. 

Three standout proposals were selected from the applicants for the 2020 Student Innovation Grant, and we congratulate the recipients.   

Elsa and Phoebe in Year 11 saw a need for a Second Hand Melbourne Girls Grammar Textbook Store to stop perfectly good books going into landfill and to give families a central location to donate or buy used textbooksYear 10 Student Tamara and a team consisting of students across a number of year levels wanted to create a Kids in Technology Club with online resources to assist and develop students’ passions in tech. 

Year 10 Student, Ahelee was also awarded the Grant for her proposal to establish a Politics and Citizenship Society at Melbourne Girls Grammar, to create a safe space for Grammarians to discuss social issues, politics and citizenship. 

Below is a reflection from Ahelee about the process, and what she hopes to achieve with the Grant.  

Politics and Citizenship Society – A Reflection From Ahelee, Year 10 Student

Melbourne Girls Grammar introduced the Student Enterprise Innovation Grant in 2020 to provide an entrepreneurial opportunity for students to contribute to the community and enhance connection and wellbeing.  

Applying for the grant was a lengthy but clear process and has taught me many skills for future entrepreneurial proposals and pitches. In the first stage of the process, I submitted a document which outlined my idea, including the vision, mission, expense forecast, target market, my personal qualifications to lead this project, timeline, and publicity plans.  

For me the founding of the society was about introducing political ideas to people my age. Politics is something that we must be engaged in — especially as young people — to affect real and meaningful change within our communities. 

I was lucky enough to be shortlisted and was then asked to pitch my idea in front of the selection committee. I was officially awarded a Student Innovation Grant in late March. Due to COVID-19, the start of the Politics and Citizenship Society was delayed by a term. 

For me the founding of the society was about introducing political ideas to people my age. Politics is something that we must be engaged in — especially as young people — to affect real and meaningful change within our communities. 

The Politics and Citizenship Society (PCS) was established to give Grammarians a safe space to gather with peers and discuss the various social and political issues that affect us. It was important for me to emphasise that politics is not just the negative things we see in the media, it’s also the discussions we have with our family and friends and the small changes we make in our lives to be more socially aware and inclusive. 

To introduce new ideas for discussion, we are inviting guest speakers at least once every four weeks, discussing legitimate news sources, the concept of change, politics and the stigma around it, the importance of our voices, ideas and opinions, and the need to consider issues from all perspectives and opinions before making individual decisions. I like to take inspiration from this quote by Madeleine Albright, first female US Secretary of State, ‘it took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I’m not going to be silent’. 

The PCS will have a ‘core committee’ comprised of a few students from each year level to represent the voices and ideas of each peer group and to plan sessions and activities for the society. This is important, not only for the PCS to be democratic and engaging in its subject matter, but also to ensure the sustainability of the PCS. 

We were officially inaugurated by renowned OG, doctor, public health expert, Member for Higgins and past MGGS Chairman of Council, Professor Katie Allen MP on 27 July 2020.  

Over the next two or three weeks, we are looking to shift our focus to politics and the media, in anticipation of Ashleigh Raper, ABC political journalist’s presence at our next meeting. We are also hoping to have a PCS Symposium at the end of the year to share what we have done, and we look forward to seeing members of the MGGS community there (whether it happens in person or online!).