Anyone interested in improving the graduate student experience can apply!
The Graduate Student Experience Grants program is a request-for-proposal process that invites graduate students, spouses, faculty, and staff to submit creative ideas that kick-start community-building projects.
The GSEG grant cycle occurs 3 times throughout the year, with the following application windows:
- March 15 – April 30 (ideal for events starting in Summer Term)
- June 15 – July 31 (ideal for events starting in Fall Semester)
- October 15 – November 30 (ideal for events starting in IAP & Spring Semester)
Funding may be requested for activities in the following categories:
- Department-, Lab-, or Center-based student events & activities
- Student-organized conferences or workshops
- Innovative Projects
Proposals for creative projects in the following areas should apply under the Innovative Projects category:
- Students with children
- Diversity, equity, & inclusion (training / programming)
- Professional & leadership development
- Healthy living
- Arts and civic engagement
- Community-building across disciplines
- Advisor – advisee relations
- And more!
Please email email@example.com for further questions.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please review the application tips thoroughly.
The GSEG grant cycle occurs 3 times throughout the year. See the timeline above.
Please note: If you plan to apply this cycle but your project has a start date prior to the end of cycle or one month after, this may not the appropriate funding source for you as decisions and funds will not be available before that date
- 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; its feasibility; and its 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 will not cover the following:
- 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
- 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
See sample budget and template with cost guidelines.
- Total funding requested
Note any additional sources of funding, including grants from other offices, departmental funding, 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
- number of participants
- number of events
- cost of publicity
- cost of food and beverages
- cost of local transportation
- cost of materials and services
- budget for police detail and licensing fees, as necessary
- If you have an MIT account number you are using for this project, include it along with the account supervisor. Please note: your MIT student ID is not an account number; be sure to ask if you have questions.
Think through your plan and its implications. Please refer to the Event Planning Guide as well.
- 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?
- Does your proposal involve another student group or MIT office? Make sure to reach out to them to secure their participation in your proposal.
To make a successful application, we encourage grant authors to think through the following topics with some more detailed questions below each item.
- Are people meeting new folks and forming new bonds that will carry into the future? Are there better ways to facilitate people meeting others?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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:
- 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.
- 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?
- 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).
- 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
The Office of Graduate Education seeks input from graduate students and administrators in their decision process. We may request further details about your proposal; recommend minor changes; and/or offer a grant total that is more or less than what you requested.
All proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis as they are received. You will learn if your proposal has been approved within three to four weeks from the deadline, and a contract will be sent to you that spells out terms for acceptance of your grant funding. Before receiving funds, you must agree to submit a report when your project is finished.
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 grad students and their department affiliation, etc.) on attendees.
Options for publicizing your project include the following:
- The Anno: A 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: If you are affiliated with a department or student group, publicize on their website or social media account. We are happy to post events on the MIT Grad Student social media as well!
- Email Lists: Take some time to identify all the e-mail lists that might want to hear about your event.
- 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, email@example.com).
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 which one might be best for you to use but here are some of the options for using your funding:
- Buy2Pay – online platform for many vendors that charges directly to cost objects
- Procurement Card – this is an MIT card for making purchases that requires training to use and has many limitations on the types of purchases
- Reimbursements – where a student makes a tax-free purchase and requests reimbursement from the manager of the cost object (MIT has tax exempt certificates available on Vice President of Finances website)
Please note that the funding restrictions in the apply for funds section still apply. If you need to make any changes to your proposal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting on your project
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 grad students and their department affiliation, 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.
The reporting form includes demographic data on participants, which should include department breakdowns for events and if the event occurs in a grad student dorm, it should include housing location of participants. We also like to see exact participant numbers rather than an estimate. Please reach out to us if you need help making quantitative metrics about how to evaluate the success of your event. We love to see photos and videos!
Featured sample projects
Building community through quilting. This project combines creativity and making to bring our department together. Individual squares will be created by various members of the community through any medium of their choice and fashioned together into a beautiful quilt to display . Banner created by the MechE community made up of individual squares using different fabrication techniques.
Find Your Next Adventure
“Find Your Next Adventure” is a chat series that features weekly hour-long fireside conversations between graduate students and successful female professionals from all career trajectories. We aim to build a network of mentors for students while introducing them to possible career fields.
Acroyoga is a communication practice disguised as a partner movement practice. The physical aspect combines yoga and acrobatics. This class is a great place to start, whether you’ve never tried acro before or you’re returning to it after some time away. We’ll go over the 3 key roles (base, flyer, spotter), refine the fundamentals and learn how to transition smoothly & gracefully. Our goals are to build a community for people to come together and learn new skills all while building physical strength and flexibility. These skills are fun and challenging and create bonding opportunities among people with shared interests across the graduate community.