These grants, ranging from $250 to $2,500, are intended to support projects that help build community and create a more inclusive campus. The funded projects include book clubs, workshops, trainings, art exhibits, events and more.
Black Graduate Student Transition Education Program (BG-STEP)
Justin Coles, College of Education (Faculty) and Jamilia Lyiscott, College of Education (Faculty)
Birthed out of a need to provide Black graduate students with a sense of community and beloning across disciplines, departments, and colleges, BG-STEP (pronounced as Big Step) is a 3-day event taking place prior to the Fall 2021 Semester that will introduce incoming Black grad students to each other and the Umass Amherst community. Programming includes a keynote and networking social brunch, a discussion panel featuring current Black grad students, workshops, a reception with Black faculty and administrators, and games and activities.
Griffin Leistinger (Graduate Student) and Rachel Adams (Staff)
With the goal toward building a fuller understanding of accessibility in the university community and eventually developing a robust, interactive, and community sourced map of accessibility and barriers for the Umass Amherst campus, we will host a year-long series of educational and interactive events. In addition to discussions and trainings from experts from the fields of disability justice field and ADA and AAB compliance, we will host a "Map-A-Thon," training and mapping event, and invite participants to travel the campus in teams and identify barriers to accessibility. The project will conclude with a Disability Graduation Ceremony with the campus Disability Community.
Private Reporting Flowchart for Harassment, Assault, and Microaggressions
Frances Griswold (Graduate Student), Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences (Faculty), and Laurie Brown, Geosciences (Faculty)
We are creating a flowchart to assist our campus community in finding existing university resources to document and/or report an incident of sexual assault, and racial, sexual, or other forms of microaggression resulting from bias. Our goal is to take the burden of seeking the proper channels from the person reporting the incident, provide a simple and straightforward representation of the links to all the possible processes, and allow the tools provided by the university to be highlighted for use by students, faculty, and staff when needed. Beginning as a pilot program in Morrill Science Center, this flowchart will be printed and mounted in every bathroom stall for the privacy of the reporter, in a fire-code compliant plastic sleeve, allowing the contents to be easily updated annually, or by semester. We will work within the supportive ecosystem of University offices for incident reporting, to keep this resource current. We envision this flowchart will help foster a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community.
“Yes, and...”: Using Improv to Foster an Engaged Workplace Community in the Libraries
Rebecca Seifried (Staff), John Slavkovsky (Staff), Alison Messier (Staff), Jaime Taylor (Staff)
This training session will equip employees from a dozen departments across the University Libraries with improvisation-informed skills to promote a healthy and inclusive workplace environment. Attendees will learn how to communicate with a positive “Yes, and...” approach that encourages engagement and collaboration. The training will lay the groundwork for refocusing the Libraries’ workplace culture toward resilience and connection, thereby promoting greater job satisfaction and fostering employee retention.
BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ Women, and Women with Disabilities in STEM
Amrita Adak (Undergraduate Student), CEPA
Our project centers around connecting women who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and/or disabled women in the Amherst area, especially from UMass Amherst, with contemporary female role models in STEM that reflect their marginalized identities, in a day-long speaker event. This event will include inspiring keynote speakers, one-on-one student interviews, engaging panel discussions with Q&A sections, and interactive workshops in which attendees will learn to advocate for their place within educational institutions. Among other crucial topics, speakers will address their interests and contributions within STEM as well as how their marginalized identities have impacted their life journey. The event will hopefully remedy feelings of isolation by fostering connection and community between participants, creating a unique space for them at UMass that previously may not have existed. Attendees will also enjoy dinner that pays homage to the cultural identities found on campus and the opportunity to interact with peers and community members to create lasting connections founded on women’s empowerment.