As we all know, asking for money is simply an awkward process; hopefully this will answer some questions and help you frame the best way(s) to ask your institution for funding to attend.
1) Most institutions have a formal application process for requesting funds. Follow these guidelines carefully! I also recommend that you speak in person with the faculty or staff member involved with funding students. Connecting a face to a request for money makes the process more personal and increases your chances of getting the funding. If your institution does not have a formal application process, talk to a reliable professor in your field and he or she can probably point you in the right direction.
2) Emphasize the importance of your attendance! This conference will not just enhance your resume, but you as an individual, a presenter, scholar, and digital humanist. Moreover, you are applying to attend a reputable conference that is ground breaking in many aspects and makes your institution look good as part of an international, undergraduate-oriented collaborative event.
3) Do your research about the specific amount of money you will need and state it in a clear and presentable manner. We recommend seeking out a faculty or staff member who has attended conferences before and who can therefore guide you through this tricky process. For this conference, you will need funding in 2 areas: transportation and lodging. We have blocked off a set of rooms at the Haworth Inn, so you will not have to reserve a room in advance; simply have a means for paying for the room once you arrive. You will need a room for 2 nights, Friday and Saturday. If you are travelling alone we can connect you to another participant so that you can share a space and the cost. We at UNRH will be able to help with lodging costs but on a limited and case-by-case basis so I encourage you to ask for funding for both transportation and lodging. Consider these elements when formulating costs:
-Transportation from your institution to an airport and vice versa
-The plane ticket from that airport to the Grand Rapids, Michigan airport (or to Chicago O’Hare with a bus or Amtrak from Chicago to Holland, Michigan)
-A 2 night stay in a local hotel (Haworth Inn)
-The return plane ticket (assuming you did not already purchase a round trip ticket)
-We will have shuttles from the Grand Rapids airport which we schedule to accommodate the most participants’ arrival times; however, if your arrival and departure times do not align with these times, then you will need funding for transportation, like an Uber, as well.
*Keep in mind the times of departure and return. The first event of the conference begins at 6:00PM, ETA on Friday, and the last event ends at 12:00PM, ETA on Sunday
4) Keep all receipts, ticket stubs, etc. Some institutions may have you pay, then reimburse you, so keep all receipts and tickets. However, even if your institution does not fund via reimbursement, collecting receipts and proof a payment along the way is still beneficial to your institution and shows a degree of responsibility on your part. Moreover, should an unexpected cost arise, your institution may be willing to help with that cost, but will need documentation.
The whole process of navigating transportation is daunting and frustrating, so seek help, send us questions if you have them, and start the process sooner than later. We are happy to connect you with other students in your area or who may have similar travel routes. If you need an official acceptance letter from UNRH or from Hope College we are happy to send this along to you, especially if you need to obtain a student visa.
We look forward to seeing you!