Funded in 2002-03

In 2002-2003 the Dean for Graduate Students funded a total of 23 proposals: 9 proposals in Round 1, and 14 proposals in Round 2. Funding per proposal ranged from $500 to $12,000.

If you have any questions about the current status of these proposals, please contact gslg [at]


Round 1: Proposals for enhancing the graduate experience

Physics Pride Campaign

Sponsor departmental effort to develop vibrant and healthy community despite fact that students are dispersed across campus. The new campaign includes an orientation for new students, weekly socials, and weekly colloquia.

Set a precedent for departmental efforts and encourage the idea of setting aside a pool of funds for future departmental proposals, especially those with matching funds.


Graduate Student Council Web Site Overhaul

Support the GSC’s effort to redesign their website to serve as a portal to Institute services for graduate students. This work is based on the GSC’s research and strategic thinking in the development of a communications strategy.

Serves GSC staff who publish information as well as the wide audience that relies on the site for information. Improved communication also serves the (underserved) student who lives off campus and for whom the web site may be the best way to gather opinions and convey information about existing programs and services.


Graduate Student Art Reception

Underwrite outreach to graduate students by the List Visual Arts Center through a special private reception to view the student art collection. This proposal had unanimous support and was funded above the levels requested. The selection panel will encourage the List to plan additional programs for grad students throughout the year.

Spark interest in other LVAC exhibitions and cultural events on campus.


Off campus graduate life

Support the development of a new system for addressing quality of life issues for students who live off campus, beginning with those in MIT owned residences.

Encourage group to develop this idea further and determine how the allocated funds might be spent, for example, to develop community by encouraging interaction about residences.


Research expo

Allocate seed money as a vote of confidence for the idea, encouraging the group to flesh out their proposal for a conference-style venue for exhibiting research at MIT, where grads and undergrads can showcase their work to the rest of the community.

This proposal has a large scope and some history but a good team just might be able to pull it off. Encourage moving forward with the idea, perhaps designing a smaller event as proof of concept.


Collaborative student group events

Support the concept of fostering collaborations among student groups in planning group events.

Encourage working with the Dean on a mechanism for evaluating future requests for collaborative sponsorship.


Ashdown courtyard improvements

Purchase benches and install additional gas barbecue pits in the courtyard to enhance this space for the use of Ashdown residents and other student groups.

Encourage Ashdown residents and other student groups to reserve this community space for social events.


Improving the first year experience at Ashdown

Support a dinner for residents and nonresidents, all first year grad students, and encourage future participation in social and cultural life of the residence.

A good model for reaching out to residents and nonresidents, all first year graduate students, at which hosts would encourage future participation in other social and cultural activities.


Ramadan @MIT

The proposal was offered partial funding (to support 2 of the 4-5 dinners proposed) to enhance an existing asset. The first such event occurred after 9/11 and was an effort by the MIT Muslim Student Association to foster understanding between the different groups of people that make up MIT’s “melting pot.”

Express appreciation for and encourage the inclusiveness of this plan.


Round 2: Proposals for enhancing the graduate experience

Monthly Race and Diversity Forum

Schedule monthly forums to discuss issues of race and diversity at MIT, loosely organized on a different theme or question each month. Some themes include: ‘Does racism exist at MIT?’ ‘How can I communicate better with people from different cultures or races than my own?’ Forums are open to all members of the community.

Encourage dialogue on diversity as well as outreach to other offices and organizations at MIT.



Existing organization focuses on two new initiatives especially for graduate students and their families: develop website by expanding “frequently asked questions” for newcomers; and promote babysitting exchange among graduate families with children.

Focus on underserved graduate constituency; potential for expanded childcare services using “Babynet” as a model.


Building Conflict Resolution Skills

Design a means to spread the basic skills of conflict resolution to the graduate student body in the Department of Chemistry. The proposed program includes exploration of different skill sets through workshops with poster sessions and informal discussions. The intent is to reach all students in the department and beyond.

Well considered pilot program with solid potential as a community model for others.


Student-made Pottery for Ashdown House Common Areas

Invite artists in the community to create distinctive ceramic pots for plants in common areas of Ashdown House.

Collaborative effort with the Student Art Association and those who use public spaces in Ashdown as beneficiaries. Opportunity for public celebration offers another opportunity for community building.


Video | Capturing the Social Essence of Grad Life

Design and produce three video documentaries to capture the social side of graduate research, work, and life, that is vital to a life changing graduate education.

Creative attempt to document community from a student’s point of view, with GSO and GSC as potential “customers” of this video material.


Pilot First Year Graduate Student Mentorship Program

Develop mentoring program for first year graduate students in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering through formal program that includes training, discussion forums, social events, and a formal evaluation.

Support students to develop their own sense of community; enhance communication. If successful, the pilot will attract departmental funding in the future and serve as model for others.


Building off campus community

Provide a means for off campus students to communicate with fellow students who live nearby, and delegate responsibility for organizing events, bringing a bit of MIT community away from campus and closer to home.

Practical plan for identifying and addressing needs of underserved grad student constituency.


IAP/Spring Marathoning Clinic

Provide a comprehensive and professional five-month training workshop for runners and aspiring runners who want to develop a fitness program with ultimate goal of completing a 26-mile marathon.

Proposal builds community at each step of the process. Good collaboration among existing groups.


Weekly Wednesdays

Create opportunity for a diverse cross-section of MIT grad students from every School, department, lab, residence, and affinity group to come together and “connect” on a regular basis in an informal setting (the Muddy Charles Pub).

Based on successful model and open to the entire graduate community. Opportunity for those who work closely with grad students to attend or host an event.


Crossing Disciplines in the Arts

Address the need expressed by students for interdisciplinary discourse by developing informal connections for students studying in Architecture, Media Arts, Visual Studies, and Comparative Media Studies, through series of forums in which students present and discuss their work.

Help to create community for every graduate arts student, encouraging creativity and discussion around current themes in art and technology. Valuable pilot project that, if successful, could be open to the general MIT community.


Publicly Sharing Graduate Student Artwork

Using the MIT Artist Behind the Desk Program as a model, create a structure that allows students to present their artistic work to the MIT community through a series of exhibitions, performances, and presentations.

Based on a successful model that brings people together based on their interest in the arts.


How can newsgroups improve communication within the graduate community?

Renovate the newsgroup server ( and market its potential as a useful communications tool to express opinions and exchange ideas.

Another vehicle to promote effective communication among graduate students.


Formation and support for InterLink

Create a student organization for supporting the international graduate community by disseminating information about new and evolving regulations, scheduling community coffee hours, and training volunteers to develop networks among students and administration.

Thoughtfully considered infrastructure for a collaborative effort in support of the international community at a critical time. Aligns efforts with the International Students Office.


List Visual Arts Center Receptions

Host special private receptions with food and beverages for graduate students to complement the remaining two exhibits of the 2002-2003 season.

Based on enormously successful reception for graduate students hosted by the List last fall.