Getting Started

Building Community

It is our hope that every Notre Dame graduate student be a member of a flourishing and welcoming community. We believe that 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 experiences that integrate individuals as members into the larger community.

  • Bringing people together in co-curricular settings, outside of the library, lab, and classroom.

  • Building relationships across diverse groups and departments, especially among those with few opportunities to interact.

  • 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 entire graduate population, or they may target a specific constituency, such as families, new mothers, or first-year graduate students. They may partner with existing student groups and graduate residences, or they may stand alone. Their purpose should be to facilitate the formation of meaningful community as crucial to a balanced and fulfilling graduate experience. Note that special consideration will be given to proposals including an event during our annual Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

If you are interested in applying for funding or if you are looking for inspiration from successful grants of the past, see the guidelines and links below. Beginning in 2015, we adopted a rolling application cycle and will consider new proposals as they are submitted.

If you have questions, please contact Graduate Student Life at


Follow the Guidelines

Proposals may request 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 Notre Dame graduate student experience can apply. Student groups should apply on behalf of a larger audience or in partnership with other groups, not to fund their own activities or events specific to a single academic department. (For example, if students in the Physics Department want to host a social only for Physics students, or if the Chinese Friendship Association wants to host 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 put in the work to make your idea a reality, a Grad Life 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

Beginning in 2015-2016, we are adopting a rolling application cycle, and will consider new proposals as they are submitted. Please allow 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 a manner consistent with state and federal laws.

Proposal authors are expected to volunteer their time to organize their event. 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 as 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 grant proposals. During 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, and 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.