Campus Climate Improvement Grants

The sun sets over UMass Amherst

Applications will open in February 2020.

We encourage you to take an active role and bring your creativity to the work of improving our campus climate. We seek proposals for projects and activities that promote understanding and learning, and that invest in relationship-building across difference in the campus community. We invite projects that encourage conversation and connection across race, religion, class, immigration status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability and nationality to create opportunities for belonging and to strengthen community.

Priority will be given to:

  • Proposals that promote cross-campus, intergroup, and partnership approaches to support community-building. (For example, multiple student organizations at the graduate/undergraduate level partnering together to promote relationships, awareness, and communication; multi-college or multi-unit initiatives that focus on a campus climate concern together.)
  • Proposals that are likely to yield a more sustained climate improvement, such as a learning community or proposed integration of diversity into curriculum or series of events will be reviewed more favorably.

While one-time events will be considered, applicants will need to make a case for the impact on climate improvement. In addition, we are interested in cross-campus partnership development, and ways that such partnerships can positively enhance the feasibility of the activity as well as its impact on multiple groups and its potential to shape campus climate in beyond the activity itself.

Funds are considered one-time seed funds. Existing events or activities that already are funded through another mechanism will not be prioritized. If an applicant is extending or adapting an existing activity, please clarify how this grant will facilitate this.

We will evaluate proposals based on:

  • Relevance to campus climate improvement
  • Nature of impact on participants
  • Feasibility that the project can be completed in the time outlined (during the 2019-2020 school year)

You can write a grant that will take place in only the fall or the spring, or across the entire school year. If the activity would require certain partnerships to come to fruition, those partners should be identified and have signed on to the application at the time of submission. Costs or fees associated with any outside speakers must be reflected in your budget.

Prior to submitting an application, we recommend that applicants read more about climate improvement and learn about previously awarded grants in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Eligibility

Applicants must be a currently enrolled UMass-Amherst student, staff or faculty member. We anticipate making awards across all campus roles, and strongly encourage applications. Student applicants must be affiliated with a registered student organization with a budgetary account number or have the administrative support of their academic department in order to transfer funding. A letter of recommendation from the students’ sponsor or Campus Office collaborator (e.g., faculty member or appropriate representative from a university office/center or student organization) must be included as an attachment with the application.

Award Amounts

Grants will range from $250 to $2,500.  We expect to make up to 10-15 grants within the $250-$500 range, and 5-10 grants in the $1,500-$2,500 range; IMPORTANT; grants exceeding $2,500 will require cost-sharing with another office. If awarded, the grantee must inform OEI of any changes to the budget by May 3. And again, funds are considered one-time seed funds: additional awards for the same project will not be provided after this funding cycle.

Examples:

  • Creating a learning community to promote the development of knowledge or skill-building through a facilitated reading group, series of workshops, or training and planned activities to extend the skills learned.
  • Creating a key resource to fill a campus need, that will enhance campus climate
  • Innovations in teaching and performance that address campus climate
  • Activities that promote community-building, using an intergroup approach, multi-unit, or partnership approach
  • Improving communication across difference

Application Guidelines

Prior to application, prospective grantees must attend one of two scheduled information sessions to be eligible to apply. Informational sessions will be announced when scheduled. 

Applicants must submit a completed budget. Download the budget form and upload it on the application page.

Once funded, grantees shall notify the Office of Equity and Inclusion of any dates for events, meetings, or other funded programming. Funded projects also require a quarterly status report—due September 1, December 1, and February 1—to notify the office of progress of the project, successes or challenges, and milestones to date. Final reports are due May 1.

Sample Budgets

Sample Budget for $500 grant

Item

Description

Cost

Resource

Resource Creation

$400

Supplies

Event Supplies

$100

 

Total

$500

Sample Budget for $2,500 grant

Item

Description

Cost

Books

Burgstahler's "Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice" at $34/copy x 16 people
Evans, Broido, Brown, and Wilke's "Disability in Higher Education: A Social Justice Approach" at $28.28/copy x 16 people

$1,000

Refreshments

Breakfast for participants 

$700

Workshop Trainer

Workshop fee for external Universal Design Learning expert trainer for three workshop sessions

$1,800

 

Subtotal

$3,500

Cost Sharing

Center for Student Success Research Contribution

$1,000

 

Total Request

$2,500