Graduate Community Building Fund provides financial support for unique projects
Got an idea for a special project that needs some financial backing? Concordia’s Graduate Community Building Fund (GCBF) provides up to $5,000 per year, per department on a competitive basis. Its aim is to nurture a sense of intellectual community within the university’s faculties.
Recipients must organize an event that goes beyond formal academic experiences, bringing students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty members from across disciplines together in an engaging and convivial atmosphere.
Past projects have included discussion forums, symposia and invited speaker series. Provided a sufficient rationale is given, the GCBF is flexible as to the kinds of events it will support.
Rethinking Africa's Urban Future
Hone Mandefro Belaye is a PhD candidate in social and cultural analysis at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He was able to use the fund to organize a two-day conference called Rethinking Africa's Urban Future(s).
"We discussed how Africa is becoming highly urbanized and what this means for the continent and the rest of the world," he explains.
"We had people coming from Europe and the United States to take part in several panels over the course of two days."
With more than 22 million people added to Africa’s urban population every year, it is expected that by 2035 more than half of the continent’s population will be living in urban areas and Africa will host six of the 41 megacities of the world.
According to Belaye, urbanization is the single most important transformation taking place on the African continent right now.
The event was the result of a collaboration between the Concordia African Studies Working Group (CASWG) and McGill's African Studies program.
Faculty and students collaborating
One of the things that helps the GCBF stand out, according to Belaye, is that student project leaders must work closely with faculty mentors to apply.
Applications are then chosen based on originality, their community-building potential and the perceived benefit to faculty and students.
"The fact that you have to get your project sponsored by a faculty member means people are looking closely at what you're proposing — and this works to improve the quality of your project," Belaye says, noting that applicants get lots of support in the process of submitting.
"We had a really positive experience with the GCBF and would even encourage them to increase the amount of funding so that more student projects can be sponsored."
Each project must have a student project leader and a faculty mentor who is a graduate program director, departmental chair or research centre director. The project cannot be part of a student’s required curriculum or program.
The application must be submitted by the faculty mentor at least eight weeks in advance of the event or project. Mentors can submit for multiple projects up to a total of $5,000 per year, per department or research centre. Note that each project must impact a minimum of 20 graduate students.
Find out more about Concordia’s Graduate Community Building Fund.