Campus Climate Improvement Grants

aerial view of campus

Every spring, the Office of Equity and Inclusion solicits applications for Campus Climate Improvement Grants, to support projects that foster connection, build community, and help to create a more inclusive campus. Current UMass undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty—as individuals or in teams—are encouraged to submit your creative proposals; projects being the following academic year.

Ranging from $250 to $2,500, Climate Grants support the creation of resources, events, or programming that encourage conversation and connection across race, ability, religion, immigration status and nationality, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, political ideology, and, ideally, campus roles of student/staff/faculty. The ideal project will increase opportunities for greater belonging and help to strengthen our community. Previously funded projects include film festivals, book clubs, mentorship networks, workshops, art exhibits, speaker series, and more.

Since the inception of this initiative in 2017, the work of participating students, staff, and faculty has been key in helping UMass move forward as a community of choice for all, in creative and effective ways. Successful projects have taken place across the entire academic year, or, just during in the Fall or Spring semesters. 

Applications for 2022 have closed. The next application cycle will begin Spring 2023.

Application Information

Priority for funding will be given to:

  • Proposals that reflect the Campus Strategic Plan’s goals of building a more inclusive campus community, improving campus climate, and organizing for success.
  • Proposals that address a specific challenge identified in the Campus Climate Surveys.      
    • Refer to “A Deeper Dive” for challenges detailed by Undergraduate and Graduate students, Staff, and Faculty, in the 2016 survey
    • Refer to the 2017 Abridged Report for examples of campus-wide challenges
  • Proposals that promote cross-campus, intergroup, multi-unit 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 whose scope extends beyond a specific office or college, and includes a broader portion of the campus community. For example:
    • Resources designed to increase inclusion among underrepresented students
    • A learning community open to the campus community that promotes knowledge- or skill-building, and provides the opportunity to use and extend the skills learned
    • A conversation series that invites staff, students and faculty who might not have met to engage across difference, to get to know each other better and understand what each brings to the UMass community
  • Proposals that are likely to yield sustained climate improvement, such as a learning community or other resources whose impact lasts beyond the term of the project. For example:
    • Innovations in teaching and performance that promote greater inclusivity
    • While one-time events will be considered, applicants will need to make a case for the impact on campus climate.

We will evaluate proposals based on:

  • Relevance to a specific goal of the Campus Strategic Plan
  • Relevance to campus climate
  • Intergroup collaborations
  • The nature of the impact
  • The partnerships proposed to carry out the project
  • For larger grants, sustained impact

Grants are awarded as one-time seed funds. Projects previously funded through a Climate Grant will not be funded again, and 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, they must clarify how this Grant will facilitate improved work or an increased scope, and how the existing activity addresses the priorities of the Grant. Applicants should also consider how a project might continue and possibly scale beyond the term of the Grant, and the potential Campus partnerships and funding that would be necessary.

Prior to submitting an application, we recommend that applicants read more about Climate improvement and learn about previously awarded grants in 2017-182018-192019-20, and 2020-21.

Watch the Informational Video

Eligibility

Applicants must be a currently enrolled UMass-Amherst undergraduate or graduate student, or a currently employed University 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 General Operating Fund account number, or have the administrative support of an academic department to whom funds may be transferred. 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.  And again, funds are considered one-time seed funds: additional awards for the same project will not be provided after this funding cycle.

Application Guidelines

Prior to application, prospective grantees must watch our informational video to be eligible to apply, and then meet with Emmanuel Adero to discuss proposal parameters.

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 status report, to notify the office of progress of the project, successes or challenges, and milestones to date. 

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