Award Archive

Check out the award winning grants from 2012, 2013, & 2014!


2014 Grad Life Grants

Farm to Table

While we all share in the experience of food, the stresses of graduate school can often lead graduate students to skip meals, neglect nutritional needs, and become generally detached from their food choices.  In partnership with South Bend's local food cooperative, Purple Porch Co-op (located only 1.5 miles south of campus), the Food to Table event will bring graduate students and their families together to meet local farmers, learn about sustainable food choices, and share a locally sourced meal. By connecting students to the local food available in the South Bend community, we hope to provide an experience that not only brings graduate students together for a shared experience, but also imparts a feeling of connectivity to our daily nourishment. Topics such as proper nutrition, sustainable food practices, and healthy eating under stress and budget constraints will be discussed by local farmers and local food advocates during the event.

Food for Friends 

Each month, Food for Friends gathers graduate students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds to share an ethnic meal and learn about different cultural traditions through conversation, music, arts, stories, and videos.   The initiative provides students with an opportunity to engage life experiences, learn about their fellow graduate students, and participate in our lively community.So far, we have shared home-cooked meals from Nepal and Puerto Rico..

Graduate Spouse and Partner Network

The Graduate Spouse and Partner Network (GSPN) is a new organization created by the Graduate Student Union (GSU) in order to better serve the needs of Notre Dame graduate students and their families.  Recognizing that many significant others have had to put their careers and goals on hold, pack up their lives, and move to South Bend in order to be with and support their partners, this group is a graduate student- and family-run resource devoted to helping new and current graduate student families adjust to life at Notre Dame and in the greater South Bend area.  The goal of GSPN is to establish a sustainable community to act both as a support system and a social network for spouses and partners to get involved with the Notre Dame and South Bend communities in order to alleviate the stress, loneliness, boredom, and feelings of isolation that are reported by many significant others, especially those living off campus.

ALL partnered and married graduate and professional students and their significant others are welcome to join, regardless of their program or year of study.

MSA Events & Awareness Week

The Muslim Student Association of Notre Dame integrates various facets of the Islamic faith in order to spread awareness about Muslims from all walks of life to students and faculty alike. Events that celebrate Islam are organized throughout the school year, in which all members of the Notre Dame community can engage each other in the school's mission to "Heal, Unify, and Enlighten."

One of MSA's biggest events is their Annual Islam awareness Week (IAW), in which it presents different aspects of Islam and reaches out to the general Notre Dame community. During this week, there are sponsored talks, a visit to the South Bend Mosque, and other events.

Stay up-to-date on MSA events on their Facebook page.

Triple C (Camping, Climbing, Cameras)

Now in its second year, Triple C (Camping, Climbing, Cameras) seeks to make outdoor recreational activities economically accessible to graduate students and to engage them in service work that brings them together with others who have common interests.  As part of our community outreach aspect, we would like to enable them to utilize their skills and education by working with youth from the Robinson Community Learning Center, who have limited access to opportunities for appreciation and utilization of natural resources.

Triple C takes a three-pronged approach to connecting people to the outdoors:

1) Education in ecology and wilderness preservation;

2) Sports and nature photography; and

3) Access to outdoor recreation, including hiking, kayaking, bouldering and rock climbing.

We would like to foster an understanding of the necessity of maintaining balance with the environment, an appreciation of what the wilderness has to offer, and an enjoyment in participation in outdoor recreational activities.  Additionally, our online photo-journal will provide a means through which they can share their experiences and encourage others to get outdoors!

We would like to thank the ND Climbing Club for use of equipment, and Graduate Student Life and Outdoor Nation and Merrell Project Pack for their generous grant awards to make this project possible.

Find us on Facebook for upcoming events!

Chemistry Graduate Club

The Chemistry Graduate Student Organization (CGSO) is a new club which hopes to promote and foster a healthy community among graduate students in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, as well as with other departments across campus. Some ways the CGSO hopes to accomplish this include:

1) Introducing first year graduate students to the science happenings of campus, both within and beyond the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. This will help them determine which labs they would like to join.

2) Providing opportunity for collaboration between labs of different departments that would not otherwise have a chance to interact.

3) Giving students from multiple departments a chance to bond over their graduate school experiences.

Later this year, CGSO is planning to host a poster session that will help accomplish the goals of improving the social environment of the chemistry department at ND, creating and supporting events that promote academic and professional development, and fostering social, intellectual, and institutional links with faculty.

For more information about how to get involved, visit the CGSO website or Facebook page!


 2013 Grad Life Grants

Women in STEM Lunch Series

The Women in STEM Lunch series welcomes female graduate students, faculty, staff, and post-doctorates to come together for a monthly luncheon. This is a professional development opportunity for graduate students to present their research and receive feedback from a diverse audience. For some meetings, we may have faculty/staff speakers discuss important issues or resources for women in STEM. Furthermore, this time together fosters a sense of community as we meet new people across a wide range of disciplines and academic positions.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School, College of Engineering, and College of Science, this series is hosted by AWIS-ND(Association for Women in Science Notre Dame) and Grad-SWE(Graduate Society of Women Engineers).

Women in STEM Social Events Series

A monthly social event to provide an environment for graduate women in STEM fields to meet others from different disciplines. A variety of activities will be hosted by AWIS-ND to facilitate membership and foster community. The social events will have both a refreshment and entertainment portion to them. One goal of AWIS-ND this year is growth; by providing social gatherings for our members, we hope to succeed in expanding membership and building leaders within the AWIS-ND community.

MSA Events

Movie Screening: Fetih 1453

This is going to be a part of the Graduate Student Appreciation Week (GSAW). The movie will serve as a break from studies and research for grad students and allow them to relax and have some good time while watching a movie with pizza! In line with both the objectives of the GSAW as well as the guidelines of the MSA, we would like to screen the Turkish movie Fetih 1453 (with English subtitles). This is a thoroughly enjoyable fast paced action movie about the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453. Alternate movie suggestions by MSA members include the Danish movie In A Better World and the American movie The 13th Warrior. We'll have a session full of fun and relaxation.

Prayers From Around The World (PFATW)

Prayers From Around The World is one of the popular event series arranged by the Campus Ministry. Every month, one of the faith groups registered with the Campus Ministry comes forward and discusses one of their ritual or cultural event in front of other members of other faiths. MSA plans to invite a scholar from the Notre Dame or South Bend/Michiwaka community to discuss one traditional Islamic prayer in front of the audience and also to hold a Q/A session.

This event will not only result in increasing awareness about Islam, but will also foster a deeper appreciation of the diversity of beliefs on our campus and will create new friendships in the process.

End-of-Year Picnic and MSA Election

To mark the end of another academic year and to appreciate and celebrate the efforts and contributions of the outgoing MSA Board, an off-campus day-long picnic with halal BBQ will be arranged in a nearby state-park for all the MSA members and their families. Members must renew their membership by paying the $10 annual fee during this occasion. A day full of gossip, outdoor games and food will mark the event. We will also use this opportunity to have the annual MSA Elections as described in the MSA constitution, with eligible MSA members casting their votes for the nominees.

These events will serve to strengthen the Muslim community at the Notre Dame campus, and will create an atmosphere of relaxation and well-being for those attending the event.

Mind and Body, Refresh!

The Mind and Body, Refresh! Series will encompass a range of activities and events during the 2013-2014 academic year. These events will be open to all current graduate students within the Notre Dame community, providing them with the knowledge and tools to maintain three areas of wellness: nutrition, mental health, and physical health, with an additional social component during Grad Appreciation Week.

For nutritional wellness, introductory on-campus cooking classes will be hosted twice per semester. These classes will foster awareness for the importance of balanced nutrition, and go a step further to provide hands-on skills and information necessary for implementing good practices into daily life.

For mental wellness, we’ve engaged Notre Dame’s University Counseling Center to hold workshops and lectures (with refreshments) twice per semester, focusing on the management of anxiety/stress, depression, sleep, and disabilities—all common impairments to the graduate experience. 

For physical health, there will be once-monthly yoga classes taught by Steve Krojo, a well-known and experienced Notre Dame yoga instructor. The classes will be held at one of two gyms on campus, providing classroom space and locker room accessibility.

One struggle nearly all graduate students experience is Imposter Syndrome, wherein they feel incompetent or unqualified, which creates a sense of isolation. Oddly enough, nearly all graduate students believe they are the only ones who feel this way. During Grad Student Appreciation Week, we would host an “Imposter Party.” This catered costume party will acknowledge and celebrate Imposter Syndrome as a common experience. Confronting the issue publicly and with humor will foster a sense of community among graduate students, as well as provide time to network and appreciate our experiences together. We believe, also, that the enjoyment of costuming does not stop at childhood—just about everyone loves to dress up!

By offering multiple classes and workshops throughout the year that encompass a range of wellness aspects, we will be able to reach a wide array of graduate students who will have ample opportunity to grow with other graduate students while learning techniques to build a foundation of wellness in their lives. With the Imposter Party in tow, we believe this Series could have long term viability in our graduate community, and perhaps provide an example to other graduate communities in the future.

Triple C

Triple C (Camping Climbing Cameras) seeks to make outdoor recreational activities economically accessible to graduate students and engage them in service work that brings them together with others that have common interests. Furthermore as part of our community outreach aspect, we would like to enable them to utilize their skills and education to work with youth, from the Robinson Community Learning Center, with limited access to opportunities that allow for them to grow in their appreciation and utilization of natural resources, to get them excited about the outdoors.

Triple C takes a three-pronged approach to connecting people to the outdoors 1) Education in Ecology and Wilderness Preservation; 2) Sports and Nature Photography and 3) Access to Outdoor Recreation: Hiking, Kayaking, Bouldering and Rock Climbing. We would like to foster an understanding of the necessity of maintaining balance in the environment, an appreciation of what the wilderness has to offer, and enjoyment in participation in outdoor recreational activities. Additionally our online photo-journal will provide a means through which they can share their experiences and encourage others to get outdoors!

We would like to thank RecSports and the ND Climbing Club for use of equipment and Grad Life ND, Outdoor Nation and Merrell Project Pack for their generous award of grants to make this project possible. Find us at for upcoming events!

University Village Healthy Living Series

The University Village Healthy Living Series addresses graduate student families’ expressed need for holistic knowledge about health and wellness issues. In Spring 2013, we received a GradLife Grant and were able to make possible three successful events with the physicians of Physicians Holistic Health Alliance (PHA). This year, thanks to continued funding from a GradLife Grant, we will continue to offer programming for graduate student families on topics related to holistic living. This year, we plan to offer either a parenting workshop or a mens' group.


 2012 Grad Life Grants

University Village Healthy Living Series

A series of 3 educational events with board-certified physicians from Physicians Holistic Health Alliance (PHA). Specializing in lifestyle medicine, PHA embraces the idea that we can improve our health and quality of life through choices related to diet, exercise, supplementation, mediation and perspective. Topics included stress management, children's health, and healthy relationships, and specific topics were determined in consultation with PHA.

Mental Wellness Workshop Series

A series of interactive workshops for the dissemination of empirically supported methods for dealing with and overcoming a variety of wellness concerns prevalent among graduate students including anxiety, depression, sleep habits, stress, time management and social skills.

Women Redefining Graduate Studies in Science and Engineering

Monthly lunch series dedicated to professional development and social networking for women in science and engineering at Notre Dame. Co-sponsored by Grad SWE and AWIS of Notre Dame.

The Real Me Project 2.0

A community action event combining a mixed-media story-telling project bringing awareness and appreciation to Notre Dame minority graduate students with outreach to local Latino adolescents in South Bend high schools.

ND International Spouse Club

A monthly gathering of international spouses and students to build community, provide support, facilitate cultural interaction, encourage healthy transitions, and share experiences.

Conversations in Brain, Mind, and Behavior (CBMB) Journal Club

An interdisciplinary journal club focusing on neuroscience, meeting 5-6 times per semester. The capstone event includes a meeting with a specialist in Neuroscience as the guest speaker.