Graduate Residential Community Grants

All graduate residences are welcome to apply!

Graduate Residential Community Grants are designed to support the MIT residential graduate communities in creating and sustaining a spirit of belonging, engagement, and exploration among residential and off-campus graduate students. The Graduate Residential Community Grant proposals will be reviewed by a committee of staff and faculty who work closely to enhance graduate life experiences.

The GRCG grant cycle occurs 3 times throughout the year, with the following application windows:

  • March 15 – April 15 (ideal for events starting in Summer Term)
  • June 15 – July 15 (ideal for events starting in Fall Semester)
  • October 15 – November 15 (ideal for events starting in IAP & Spring Semester)

The committee reviewing the applications will consist of a mixture of graduate students and staff often consisting of:

  • Senior Program Administrator, Office of Graduate Education
  • Graduate Student Experience Fellow
  • Associate Dean, Graduate Residential Education
  • Division of Student Life Finance Administrator
  • GSC Finance Board Member
  • MindHandHeart Innovation Fund Representative

Overview of the whole process:

  • Fill out an application for event or event series with a detailed budget
  • Committee reviews grants individually and may ask follow up questions
  • Committee convenes (within 3 weeks to review grants together)
  • Decisions are finalized and sent out with a contract
  • Events occur and are reported on 30 days following the end of a series / one time event. If this is a multi-semester event series, please report by Jan 15 for fall events and May 15 for spring events to be eligible for future funding

Please email gradexperience@mit.edu for further questions and check the Institute event guide.

Apply for Funding

How & When to Apply

Complete the online application by the end of the current application window. If you would like to explore your ideas with someone before you submit your proposal, contact the grants staff at gradexperience@mit.edu.

Proposal characteristics

  • Consideration will be given to proposals of both modest and broad scope. Proposals might be for one-time events, a series of events, or a program.
  • A proposal will be evaluated based on the extent to which it identifies and addresses a community need; it’s feasibility; and it’s potential impact.
    • Community: Explain the need and how your proposal addresses that need.
    • Feasibility: Clarify that the effort is achievable within the proposed time frame and budget; explain why the project team is the appropriate one to implement your idea.
    • Impact: How will your proposal make a difference to the whole community?

Funding Restrictions

There are several funding restrictions including:

  • equipment (computers, furniture, video equipment, tents, etc.)
  • start-up activities
  • research / design work / major & course-related work
  • alcohol and related expenses
  • air travel or distant trips
  • payments to guest speakers (i.e. honoraria) (we do not typically fund honoraria but may consider under certain circumstances)
  • stipends especially for proposal authors; proposal authors are expected to volunteer their time
  • past events (i.e. events that have already occurred)
  • food for planning meetings
  • fees associated with cost objects
  • gift cards and most types of prizes
  • off-campus based retreats or distant trips
  • website fees and design

Special permission, permits, or funding restrictions may apply to the following:

  • If your event or activity will include any of the following, it must be registered via Atlas. Please refer to the Institute Events policy
    you are expecting more than 100 attendees at an event
  • more than 20% of attendees are not members of the MIT community
  • events are cosponsored with a non-MIT partner
  • alcohol will be served (please note that grant funds may not be used to purchase alcohol, however it may be served at your event)
  • there will be entertainment
  • minors will be in attendance
  • travel off campus

Please note that special policies apply when you are using MIT funds to rent a car or will screen a movie. Some events will also need to be registered with Cambridge (see here for more information).

For large events, the Institute Event Planning Guide is a comprehensive resource. For Student Organization Event Policies refer to this document.

Budgeting

See sample budget and template with cost guidelines.

  • Total funding requested
    Note any additional sources of funding, including grants from other offices or grant programs, internal funding from house tax, heads of house funds, and ticket revenue. If you do not report this, your group may be ineligible for funding in the future.
  • Detailed breakdown of how funds will be spent
    • estimated number of participants and MIT status
    • number of events
    • cost of publicity (if any)
    • cost of food and beverages
    • cost of local transportation
    • cost of materials and services
    • budget for police detail and licensing fees, as necessary

Application Tips

To make a successful application, we encourage grant authors to think through the following topics with some more detailed questions below each item.

Community Building

  • Are people meeting new folks and forming new bonds that will carry into the future? Are there better ways to facilitate people meeting others?

Sustainability

  • Does your event promote some sustainable practices? Will items given to the attendees be thrown away?
  • Are there ways to minimize trash following an event?

Risk Evaluation

  • Have you considered a registration process so you can contact all people in the event of an emergency or event issue?
  • Can you imagine any liabilities such as a potential for people to be hurt or damage to property? How can you plan to reduce risk?

Feedback

  • Do you have an easy way for folks to give feedback to improve the event in the future?
  • Are you actively seeking feedback from your attendees?
  • Are there targeted questions to ask to assure that you are meeting your goals?
  • Do people feel able to give feedback?

Inclusivity & Accessibility

We like to push all students proposing an event series to think about how to make their event more inclusive and accessible to everyone. When proposing an event, you need to address things like:

Space Accessibility

  • How do I help students from other dorms and off-campus access my event? Will they get lost, how do they navigate to the room, is there an accessible way to navigate there?
  • Is there a better location that might make it more accessible such as possibly on main campus?
  • Does the room layout provide adequate space for service animals, wheelchair maneuverability, or other mobility-aids?
  • Can you provide space for someone to step away from an event and come back?
  • Can someone ask for accommodations in advance? Every event should provide a point of contact for these accommodations with various methods to get in contact.

Dietary Restrictions

  • If your event has food, can you accommodate allergies (type & severity) or dietary restrictions?
  • Is there a way for an attendee to indicate this ahead of time so they feel comfortable to attend?
  • Are all of your events / activities food-based?

Event Programming

  • Think about location of the event and timing of your event? Is your event during a time when folks from certain backgrounds cannot make it (such as later in the evening, recurring on Friday evenings or Saturdays, on religious holidays).
  • Does your event have activities for people of various abilities?
  • If there is a presentation, is it possible for everyone to see it? Think about lighting, text size, layout of the room (single level rooms are not always ideal for a presentation if there are many attendees).

Advertising

  • Is the event language professional and inclusive? Some examples include: using gender-neutral language, avoiding idioms or colloquial expressions, and making space for people to share their pronouns during registration, if they choose to
  • If you have a flyer, is it screen reader compatible, did you provide an alternate text format especially for social media?

Using Your Grant

Publicizing your Project:

Required for all grants:

  • Use the OGE logo on all related publicity. If your publicity is in the form of a text-only e-mail, you may include the phrase “Sponsored by the Office of Graduate Education” rather than using the image.
  • Document your events and share with us. Please note that any photographs and videos submitted to OGE may be used by OGE without restriction.
  • Collect data and demographics for your report. All grant authors are required to report on their events, which includes a summary of each event including but not limited to budgeting, descriptions, and demographic data (number of attendees, their MIT affiliation (grad student, grad student spouse, staff, faculty, post-doc, post-doc family, etc.), housing affiliation (dorm, off-campus), etc.) on attendees.

Options for publicizing your project include the following:

  • The AnnoA weekly announcement e-mail that goes to the entire graduate student community on a weekly basis.  Messages may only be sent out once to the community. You may submit announcements for upcoming events, activities, and programs that apply to the entire graduate student community. Advertising in the Anno is a requirement for grants that fund events open to the entire graduate student community.
  • Websites and social media: You can email us for help in advertising on the GradLink social media.
  • Email Lists: Take some time to identify all the e-mail lists that might want to hear about your event. Make sure you are publicizing the event equally.
  • Infinite Corridor Digital Displays: If you create designs to announce an upcoming event, consider using digital displays along the route used by other student groups (more information can be found here).
  • Infinite Corridor Poster Displays: The fixed poster display cases in the Infinite Corridor may be reserved by members of the MIT community (see scheduling website for more information). Poster dimensions must be vertical, 11 x 17″; paper should be 65# or heavier cover stock. For more information see the MIT Events and Information Center (7-121, 617-253-4795, infocenter-www@mit.edu).

Using your funds:

The Office of Graduate Education will typically transfer funds to another MIT account with an account manager. You must work with the manager of your cost object for exact details on purchasing.

Please note that the funding restrictions in the apply for funds section still apply. If you need to make any changes to your proposal, you are required to email gradexperience@mit.edu for approval

Reporting on Your Project

Reports

All grant authors are required to report on their project, which includes a summary of each event or activity, including but not limited to budgeting, descriptions, and demographic data (number of attendees, their MIT affiliation (grad student, grad student spouse/family, staff, faculty, post-doc, post-doc family, etc.), housing affiliation (dorm, off-campus, etc.) on attendees. Here is the link to report on your project. We require this to be filled out 30 days after a project or series has been completed or semesterly for on-going projects (January 15 for fall events, May 15 for spring events).

Please reach out to us if you need help brainstorming the best ways to collect quantitative metrics and about how to evaluate the success of your event.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I applied in July for an event series for the entire year, do I need to apply again?

If you applied in July for an event series that is for the entire year (including a budget for the entire year), you do not need to apply again but you do need to submit a mid-year report.

When do I report?

  • If you have a one time event, then you need to submit your report 30 days after your event occurred.
  • If you have an on-going event series, then you submit a semesterly update by Jan 15 for the fall term and in May 15 for spring term

Do I need to be on the executive board of my dorm to apply?

We recommend students work with their executive board to apply for events to avoid duplication and learn policies for planning. If the event is occurring not in the dorm and you are not affiliated with the executive board / dorm council, then please refer to Grad Student Experience Grants.