The Okrent Memorial Grant for Social Justice
(OMG for Social Justice)

Alex Okrent '05             ALEX OKRENT '05 VIA TWITTER

The Okrent Memorial Grant for Social Justice
(aka The OMG for Social Justice Grant) has been established in loving memory of Alex S. Okrent, a 2005 graduate of Wesleyan University. Alex was dedicated to social change and tirelessly fought injustice during his time at Wesleyan and throughout his career. Alex did not just stick to the popular, easy causes, but took on the tough fights: raised in the Jewish tradition, he fought for peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis; while straight, he was at the forefront of the fight to protect the rights of LGBT folks; and, as a junior in college, Alex made the decision to take a semester off from Wesleyan to work for a small unknown state senator named Barack Obama. Alex died suddenly and unexpectedly in July of 2012. This grant is designed to help continue Alex’s legacy of fighting for the common good, for working relentlessly for social justice, and inspiring all with general chutzpah and compassion. The OMG Fund will support a Wesleyan student to work, volunteer, or intern for an organization or on an independently designed project meant to further social justice. It will support the summer  activities or experiences of 2-3 students per year, and will be awarded by review a committee of administrators. The OMG Fund will be administered by the Career Center. 

We've received over $150,000 in gifts in Alex's memory to fund this grant, including $85,000 from the Obama campaign. This contribution from the campaign represented a portion of ticket sales from the staff inaugural ball, all donated in memory of Alex. Click here to see a video of President Obama's speech at the 2013 Inaugural Staff Ball during which he talks about Alex around the 10 minute mark.

These awards will be handled through the Summer Experience Grant application process.

OPEN APPLICATION PERIOD: FEBRUARY 15 TO MARCH 5, 2017
Any application received after 9 p.m. on March 5th will not be considered.

Eligibility

  • OMG Internship Grants are open to rising juniors and seniors
  • Applicants must be receiving need-based financial aid at the time they apply
  • Preference given to students of color, and/or first-generation college students who have shown involvement on campus
  • Grants are given for 8-week summer opportunities (35-40 hours a week)

Criteria for Selection
Applications are evaluated on:

  • The ability of the internship to enhance the student’s Wesleyan educational experience, provide new skills and/or test or broaden the student’s areas of career interest
  • The feasibility of the outlined budget
  • Written statements

Grants Award
$4,000 grant is awarded to cover expenses related to the internship.
Please note:
Wesleyan University does not make any determination on the taxability of these awards. Please consult a tax advisor to determine your tax status and liability.

Application Process
Applicants must submit the following documents to the 2017 Wesleyan Grants posting on Handshake. 

  1. Resume (must be a resume approved by the Gordon Career Center on Handshake--note that resumes are reviewed, not necessarily, approved on Handshake with 48 hours or 2-business days, so please plan accordingly)
  2. Completed application uploaded to Handshake
  3. A detailed budget outlining the expected expenses for the duration of the internship. The submitted budget total should not exceed $4,000 (including Wesleyan’s Summer Earning Expectation -- see www.wesleyan.edu/finaid for more information on the Summer Earning Expectation). If your budget exceeds $4,000 please provide a detailed written explanation accounting for the additional expenses. There is no guarantee the portion of your budget above $4,000 will be funded.
  4. Complete and detailed written statements

Visit the 2017 Wesleyan Grants Application page for full application instructions. 
Apply for Wesleyan Grants online via the 2017 Wesleyan Grants posting on Handshake.