Campus climate micro-grant initiative awards $30,077 in fifth year

Thursday, January 23, 2020

On January 10, 2020, the campus climate micro-grant initiative awarded $30,077 to 40 projects. The awards ranged from $350 to $1000 and aim to improve the overall campus climate by supporting new and existing activities at a local or grassroots level. Now in its fifth year, the project received 77 applications, the most in its history. 

To qualify, projects had to be sponsored by either a registered student group or a University department. Applications were considered for their ability to address these priorities: expanding understanding, increasing access and equity of marginalized populations, improving campus climate assessment, and addressing institutional history and reconciliation.

The micro-grants are generously funded by the Office of President Joan T. A. Gabel. 

“The Campus Climate Micro-Grant program provides an important opportunity to positively impact campus climate,” said President Gabel. “I am pleased to support the program and its capacity to expand understanding, scholarship, and discovery.”

The awards ranged from $350 to $1000 and will go to support these projects*:

  • Building Bridges to Design Careers for Underrepresented Kids, a College of Design event to attract underrepresented students in the Twin Cities to design related fields at the U.

  • Global Study Buddy Program to better connect U international students with domestic students through study groups.

  • Race the Power of an Illusion-The Story We Tell, A documentary film screening and Courageous Conversation for Humphrey School students to understand early inequities and exclusions in U.S. policies, the long term impact, and need to not repeat that history. 

  • Great Lakes lacrosse stick making with BIG (Bayaaga'adowejig Ingiw Gabe-gikendaasoowigamigong, through the Department of American Indian Studies). Lacrosse stick making workshops for students interested in learning about Ojibwe culture and heritage and to open a meaningful connection/relationship to the indigenous people of the region and students on campus.

  • Call In Culture is a workshop designed to help foster a climate within the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, and beyond, whereby student artists who may feel marginalized or disempowered are equipped with the tools to advocate for their own physical, emotional and professional welfare.

  • Asian American Studies Program Journal vol. 2, centers Asian Pacific Islander (API) student contributors to improve and inspire conversations around API experiences, histories, and imagined futures, and will uplift all forms of expression in the Journal as a way to create multiple access points. 

  • State of East Africa, an event organized by Students Devoted to Marginalized Communities, a registered student group, to educate the University community about the current state of the Horn of Africa and its impact on the U’s east African student population.

  • Rural Community Connection, an initiative by CLA Academic Advising, will create spaces for self-identified rural students to gather in order to build community, share common experiences, and develop belonging on campus. It will also provide a training session open to all faculty and staff regarding the experiences of rural students on campus.

  • Expanding Woodworking: Spoon Carving with Women’s Woodshop will provide an opportunity for women, trans, and non-binary folks to come together, learn the basics of woodcarving by making a spoon, and discuss ways to lessen the barriers for traditionally marginalized users in the College of Design fabrication shops.

  • Mental Health Collective of Indigenous People and People of Color offers monthly meetings and twice a year retreats to support participants to expand understanding of themselves and their communities through nuanced dialogue spaces. 

  • Mathematics Project at Minnesota, a four-day workshop designed to build a community among underrepresented students interested in majoring in math.

  • Hmong Affinity Group - School of Social Work.  To provide Hmong-identifying undergraduate and graduate students in the School with a safe, empowering, and supportive space to come together once a month to have group dialogue around their lived experiences, academic and professional challenges, and the complex intersections of their identities in a predominantly white institution of higher education.

  • Camp Emerge, A Carlson School of Management project to introduce diverse groups of students to the fundamentals of business, explain how business applies to individual career interests, and help participants acquire critical skills for personal, professional and cultural development.

  • Creating Inclusive Cohorts (CIC) Program Collaboration, a program of the Graduate School Diversity Office to support the retention and success of under-represented students seeking graduate degrees.

  • Students Supporting Students, a registered group, will lead an effort to create a community where students who have been affected by mental illness can come and feel supported by their peers.

  • 2020 Indigenous Women and Women of Color Student (IWWOCS) Symposium, program curated by the Women’s Center, designed to center and prioritize the voices and experiences of indigenous women, women of color, and multiracial women students.

  • CFANS "First Gen Proud!" An opportunity for College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences (CFANS) students to come together to learn more about their first generation identities but also about the intersectionality of this identity in the context of an academic institution.

  • ** CSE Lactation Lounge: Providing Wellness for Mamas and Babies. An effort to improve conditions for working and student mothers in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) and more broadly at the University of Minnesota, by creating a lactation room in Shepherd Laboratories.

  • ** Is There a Place for Me Here?: Creating a Lactation Space and Meditation Room in Peik Hall. An effort by the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Student Association (CIGSA), working with the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) to create a lactation space and meditation room in Peik Hall that will also be available to members of the University community.

  • Indigenous Women on the Frontlines of Climate Change Resistance. An event to advance understanding of the intersectional issues at the root of environmental injustice by providing an opportunity for the University community to hear about these issues directly from indigenous women leaders.

  • Sensory Packs for Sensory Access. A project of the Bell Museum to provide free Sensory Packs throughout the museum for any visitor who wishes to use them, in order to improve access to the Bell’s exhibits, programs, and special events for visitors with sensory sensitivities.

  • Feminist Friday Screening & Speaker Series by the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy (CWGPP) at the Humphrey School for Public Affairs, to provide opportunities to to encourage impactful, conmplicated discussions and learning opportunities around diverse, intersectional issues, and for students to come together for food, film, and fellowship.  

  • DPT: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Efforts, an effort in the Department of Physical Therapy (DPT) to create a climate of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in order to attract and retain more students from underrepresented communities and contribute to creating a Physical Therapy profession that reflects the diverse society it serves. 

  • Creating a Universal Design Curriculum for Outdoor Learning. A project to pilot courses that incorporate universal design for learning to ensure students with accessibility accommodations have all the necessary support and equipment to participate in field experiences based in a primitive nature environment. 

  • Building an Inclusive Climate through Collaboration and Community Partnerships in a Diverse Academic Health Center Department. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, working with Penumbra Theatre, will offer workshops for staff, faculty and trainees to provide opportunities to reflect and witness personal experiences that will foster inclusion toward their colleagues, trainees and the patients they serve. 

  • Spotlight Series on Environmental Justice Web Accessibility, to increase access to this free series, co-hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study, Northrop, and the University Honors Program. Series presenters examine environmental justice through various lenses.

  • The 2020 Election: How to Engage in Effective Dialogue, a project to help students understand how to participate in civic engagement. This effort is connected to a non-partisan initiative in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Student Services department. 

  • Exploring Writerly Identities through Art: A Writing/Puppetry Workshop for IPOC Graduate Writers, a three-day intensive workshop through The Community of Scholars Program (COSP) Writing Initiative, Graduate School Diversity Office, to provide indigenous and people of color (IPOC) graduate writers with an opportunity to use the artistic practices of puppetry, story-writing, and performance as a way to think deeply and imaginatively about their relation to their academic writing projects.

  • Facilitator Training Program for Gender Equity and Access, led by the Gender and Sexuality Center for Queer and Trans Life (GSC) focuses on identities, power, and privilege based on dimensions of gender identity and gender expression.

  • Yoga and Storytelling for Indigenous Women and Women of Color (IWWOC), a series of workshops to provide a space for IWWOC to process and understand trauma, build community and ultimately, with these tools, persist in their educational and professional goals. 

  • Celebrating Gender Identity, a College of Continuing and Professional Studies event for students to create more awareness around the importance of using neutral pronouns to support individuals’ well being. 

  • Hmong Students Sib Tham (Conversations), an initiative to invite undergraduate Hmong students at the University of Minnesota to participate in a series of discussion sessions on a variety of topics about career pathways as it relates to the cultural experiences of Hmong students and their community.

  • Inclusive Active-Learning: Addressing Peer-to-Peer Bias in the Classroom, to develop a more robust hour long training open to all College of Biological Sciences (CBS) students that would provide education on successfully working with teams, discuss intercultural competence, bias and microaggressions, and give students the tools recognize and address this situations when they occur in their groups. 

  • Midwest Asian American Students Union Spring Conference (MAASU). Support for the successful planning and implementation of this large conference that will draw over 800 attendees in March.

  • Graduate school! How do I apply? (Information sessions for international undergraduate students). Information sessions from the Office of Graduate Admissions about applying for and attending graduate school.

  • Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Ally Discussion Group. To support a new model of this series that will include co-facilitators and affinity-based breakout spaces for cisgender students looking to build their capacity as allies, as well as affinity space for transgender, gender non-nonconforming, and non-binary students.   

  • Wake up and smell the coffee! is an initiative that the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee in Academic Support Resources (ASR). A series of six separate hour-long sessions where employees will learn about DEI topics, have their voices heard, and understand new and different perspectives.

  • Caring for the Caregiver: Mindfulness-Based-Stress Reduction for Future Allied Health Providers is a project of the Allied Health Collective in collaboration with Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing to increase students’ understanding of the connections between stress management and mental health, to reduce the stigma and marginalization associated with seeking mental health support, and to increase students’ knowledge and ability to provide clients with mindfulness-based counseling. 

  • #Thrive: A Student and Faculty Partnership To Support Graduate Mental Health is a graduate student-led initiative through the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy & Development in CEHD to cultivate a departmental learning environment that supports positive mental health for underrepresented graduate students as well as majority represented peers.

  • Voicing For Africa: Being A First Generation College Student, an effort to strengthen the African Student Association community on campus through discussions about past and or current experiences. An opportunity to give new African students, who are mostly first generation college students, a space to talk about their experiences.

*Programs funded by Campus Climate Micro-grants must be open to all University community members.

**Contingent on approval by Space Management in University Services

"The IWWOCS Symposium would not be possible without funding support from partners like the Campus Climate Micro-Grant," says Uyenthi Tran Myhre, assistant director, Women's Center and one of the Symposium organizers. "Receiving this grant means we are able to equitably compensate all of our speakers for their energy and labor, from workshop presenters to keynote speakers."

See the micro-grant results from the 2018-192017-18,  2016-17 and 2015-16.


"Perspectives" stories are the views and opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect any official position of the University of Minnesota.