The Graduate Community Building Fund creates connections across disciplines
Since its inception in 2016, Concordia’s Graduate Community Building Fund has provided $124,000 in financial support to more than 76 projects. The initiative aims at building an intellectual community across the university’s graduate programs through student-led events, lectures, symposia and more.
The program allows the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) to provide funding of up to $5,000 per special project, including smaller, more localized initiatives that might otherwise not receive backing.
Proposed events must align with the university’s 9 strategic directions, have a high level of student involvement and impact those in graduate programs.
“The idea is to enrich the experience of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by involving them in organizing — as well as participating — in events outside the set curriculum,” says Erika MacFadden, SGS coordinator for information and projects.
“It’s about fostering relationships with one’s peers, faculty mentors and building cross-disciplinary connections.”
‘We wanted to appeal to a wider audience’
Through the fund, Beatriz Hoffmann-Kuhnt, a master’s student in Educational Studies, was able to organize a symposium built upon her research into women’s homelessness in Montreal.
“Community members who provide services are well aware of the research gaps on the topic, so a collaborative effort was necessary to address them,” she says.
“With this financial support, we were able to facilitate an interactive space for over 150 people in order to share information and identify critical paths for action and future research on social policy and planning around women and homelessness in Montreal.”
Anne-Marie Turcotte, who is pursuing her PhD in social and cultural analysis, also took advantage of the opportunities granted through the fund to produce the Best Concordia Podcast, which offers a fun, accessible platform for the diffusion of student research via an informal interview format.
Turcotte says she and her peers received instrumental support in promoting and developing the series: from creating a website to archiving, promotion, advertising, merchandise, technical software, subscription fees and more.
“We wanted to appeal to a wider audience beyond the university; it’s intended for any listener interested in the backstage workings of academia,” she explains.
“It’s a far-reaching project that seeks to foster a strong sense of community among interdisciplinary graduate students who might find themselves isolated in their respective programs.”
Unique networking opportunity
To date, MacFadden says the fund has been a success and represents a unique opportunity for grad students to network with internal and external partners — whether that means community, industry or alumni — while gaining soft skills such as organizing, promoting, managing and budgeting.
She notes that proposals are reviewed year-round, with no specific deadline.
“We only ask that applications are submitted by email at least eight weeks before the event.”
Have an idea you want to pitch to Concordia’s Graduate Community Building Fund? Apply today!