This past October 2020 marked the launch of the Graduate Student Experience Grants (GSEG), a transformed version of the previous Graduate Student Life Grants which began in 2002. These grants have become a cornerstone for development and funding of graduate student co-curricular activities that promote community-building.
The reimagined Graduate Student Experience Grants have expanded to cover more facets of the graduate student experience. The application process now occurs four times during the year: October, January, April, and July. Funding may be requested for a wide array of activities such as department-, lab-, or center-based student events & activities, student-organized conferences or workshops, and innovative projects. The new ‘innovative projects’ initiative includes several focus areas: students with children; diversity, equity, & inclusion; professional & leadership development; healthy living; arts and civic engagement; community-building across disciplines; outreach; and advisor–advisee relationships.
Grants funded in the first cycle:
- Comparative Media Studies virtual ice cream socials. This activity aims to help CMS masters students across class years connect through bi-monthly ice cream social hours, sharing what frozen treats look like around the globe and building community.
- Virtual music education and movement/music/storytelling classes for children of graduate students living in Westgate.
- Synergy II: Communicating Ocean Science Through Art. This program is designed to unite ocean scientists (e.g. doctoral students from the MIT-WHOI joint program) with artists (from Art League Rhode Island) in finding a common language to communicate oceanographic life and activity through artistic expression.
- Career Panel and Workshops for Water Sector. This project connects graduate students with industry/ NGO professionals and academics to offer a perspective on potential career paths within the water sector.
- Writing Together Online. This program will hire, train, and mentor graduate students to facilitate Writing Groups for MIT graduate students to build a community of academic writers.