Getting Started

Building Community

Being part of a vibrant and diverse community is our hope for every Notre Dame graduate student. While it can be difficult to define, we believe the essential elements of a healthy community include:

  • Fostering a sense of belonging in which each individual’s background and contributions matter.

  • Creating opportunities for shared integrative experiences.

  • Bringing people together in co-curricular settings (e.g., outside the library, lab, or classroom).

  • Building connections and relationships across diverse groups, academic departments, and disciplines, especially among those with rare opportunities to gather.

  • Improving outreach to marginalized or under-served groups and individuals.

  • Promoting wellness across multiple dimensions including spiritual, physical, intellectual, relational, and emotional health.

Proposals must address one or more of these essential elements, and must be consistent with the institutional mission and identity of the university. Proposals may address the graduate population broadly defined, or target a specific constituency such as families, new mothers, or first-year graduate students. They may create partnerships with existing student groups and graduate residences, or may stand alone. Their purpose should be to explore the role and relevance of community in creating a more balanced and fulfilling graduate experience. Additionally, special consideration will be given to proposals including a program or event during our annual Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

If you are interested in applying for funding, see the guidelines below. For 2015-2016 we are adopting a rolling application cyle, and will consider proposals as they are submitted.If you have questions, please contact Graduate Student Life at


Follow the Guidelines

Graduate Student Life is accepting requests for up to $2000 per year (or $3000 for two years) to support the graduate experience in appropriate and creative ways. Contact Mimi Beck with questions at (574) 631-1221 or


Who Can Apply

Any graduate student or group of graduate students interested in enriching the graduate experience can apply. Student groups should apply on behalf of a larger set of constituencies or in partnership with other groups, not simply to fund their own activities or events specific to a single academic department. (For example, if students in the Physics Department host a social exclusively for Physics students, or the Chinese Friendship Association hosted an event exclusively for Chinese students, these would not be eligible for grant funding.)


Why Apply

If you have an interest in improving student life for graduate students and are willing to work on your ideas, a grant offers financial support to do so.


How to Apply

Please refer to The Proposal Process. If you would like to explore your ideas with someone before you submit your proposal, contact Mimi Beck at to make an appointment.


When to Apply

For 2015-2016 we are adopting a rolling application cycle, and will consider proposals as they are submitted. Please allow a minimum of 30 days for submission review.


What's a Good Fit

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 of up to two years duration.

For long-term projects, priority consideration will be given to proposals that include strategies for sustainable growth and leadership continuity.

In general, funding will not cover equipment (e.g., cameras, computers, furniture). Proposals for house parties or research will not be considered. These funds cannot support charities or political groups; cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol; and must be used in manners consistent with state and federal laws.

Proposal authors are expected to volunteer their time; stipends for the organizing team will not be considered.


Write for Success

A proposal will be evaluated based on the extent to which it identifies and addresses a community need; its connection to the essential elements of healthy community listed above, its feasibility, and its potential impact.

  • Community: Explain the need; connect the need to one or more essential elements; and explain how your proposal addresses the 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?



Graduate Student Life will convene a selection panel to review proposals and make decisions about funding. In this process, the selection panel 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 acknowledged. You will learn if your proposal has been approved within 30 days of submission.



If your proposal is accepted, you will receive formal written acknowledgment from Graduate Student Life. This includes a contract that spells out terms for acceptance of your grant funding. Before receiving funds, you must agree to submit reports to Graduate Student Life on or before stated deadlines.



Written reports are due within 30 days of your final grant-sponsored event or September 30 of the year following your award, whichever comes first. Please see the Follow Up section for more information.