Zipcar/Ford video contest lets student organizations apply for funds


Zipcar and Ford’s Students with Drive video contest is now available for student organizations at the University of Connecticut. The pair recently exceeded $1 million in donations to organizations on college campuses through this philanthropic program.

Student organizations at the University of Connecticut can now apply for grant funding through the Zipcar/Ford “Students with Drive” video contest.  

Those interested can fill out a brief questionnaire and submit a one to two minute video showing what the awarded funds will do for their club.  Organizations can apply online at  

Katelyn Chesley, public relations manager at Zipcar, said that at UConn specifically, Zipcar has yet to receive an application to Students with Drive. Chesley said this is because UConn has been home to Zipcar for one year.

Miranda Smith, a UConn seventh-semester human development and family studies major and psychology minor, said she is a part of HOLA (Hearts Over Latin America), a fairly new club at UConn that travels to various Spanish-speaking countries across the globe to help children with various developmental aspects of life.  Smith said a check from Students with Drive would significantly help her club.  

Smith said that HOLA’s goal is to “[help] out rural areas in anyway possible, whether it be through education or even just by building a playground.”  

A press release from Zipcar and Ford said that the pair recently exceeded $1 million in donations to organizations on college campuses through this philanthropic program.

According to Chesley, through a partnership with Ford, Zipcar began this initiative in October 2011 to aid in providing funding to college clubs and organizations that help make their campuses and communities a better place to live.  

Chesley said the two companies met and asked, “How could we help student organizations doing really great things and how could we help their efforts?”  From this, Chesley said, the program was born.  

The press release said that each year, clubs and organizations from over 400 college campuses apply for the $25,000 grand prize.  

According to Chesley, upon receipt of the sum, $10,000 must be designated to the specific cause, another $10,000 to the university’s scholarship fund and the final $5,000 towards driving credit of Zipcar-provided vehicles.  

Aside from the grand prize winner, $13,000 in grant money is awarded to the second-place organization and $9,000 is awarded to the group that comes in third, according to the press release.  

Chesley said that each submission is judged by a panel from Ford and Zipcar, as well as by popular vote from the public. The popular vote was implemented this past year, Chesley said.  

Chesley said that this year, the Outing Club at Brown University was awarded the top prize of $25,000. The donated funds for the club will go towards “connecting students to outdoor adventure.”  

Clem Aeppli, member of the Brown Outing Club, said the funds will help subsidize travel costs and aid more children in poverty. Zipcar will help to improve accessibility from his club to outside community members.

“With Zipcar, we’re able to really increase the number of trips we run and increase the capacity of those trips and bring outdoor access to more students at Brown,” Aeppli said.

According to Zipcar, access to their service for a year is $15 for students and $25 for the public.  Each car is priced differently and renters do not pay for gas or insurance.  

Smith said she takes advantage of Zipcar throughout the week when she goes to work at a local daycare.  

“Things happen; (Zipcar) is very understanding and flexible,” Smith said. “If you live out of state, this is an optimal service.”

Luke Hajdasz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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