DEIJ grants now available

Eva Mihelich, News editor

Mercyhurst is focused on creating an open, anti-racist, forward-thinking environment for its students. One new initiative that the office for DEIJ has started is an opportunity for students or faculty to get mini-grants. These grants are to be used for ideas to enhance the campus community, with a special focus on diversity and anti-racism. This gives students the opportunity to give their input on how the Mercyhurst community could improve in terms of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Past concerns of students have driven this new initiative, along with the other missions that Mercyhurst has started in order to combat racism.

The application for these mini-grants can be found on the Student Hub. When the application is accessed, a message appears across the top banner. “This spring the Office of Mission will award separate mini-grants of up to $500 each to teams of at least two people (which can include students, employees, or both) for creative programs or initiatives that will enhance the university’s goals for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. We welcome projects specifically connected to antiracism and we welcome projects that expand to other important areas of diversity and inclusion on campus and in the local community.” Greg Baker, vice president for Mission said that this is the third year Mercyhurst is offering these mini-grants, but they are trying to put a greater emphasis on it this year.

“Each of the past two years we have awarded between 6-8 grants of up to $500 each. These projects need to take place between spring and fall 2023, and they need to involve a team of at least two people. We encourage teams that include both students and employees. These grants are made possible through a Mercy Endowment Fund that the Sisters generously built up over decades.” The purpose of these grants is to give people an opportunity to lead creative and impactful initiatives for DEIJ work on campus. Baker said, “When DEIJ was brought under the mission office a few years ago, I recognized that a lot of people on campus care deeply about this area of the campus experience, but people cited lack of time and lack of resources as what keep them from doing new things.”

The possibility of having a little bit of money helps people to think and dream differently! These grants have been tremendously helpful in bringing about simple yet important initiatives, both on campus and in the local community. There have already been a number of great submissions for this year’s grants. This year’s deadline for submissions is Feb. 13. Baker said, “Soon I will gather with a small team to help me decide which of this year’s projects will be awarded a grant.” If you have an idea for how Mercyhurst can improve their DEIJ mission, consider applying for a mini-grant to get your plan in action. Applying only takes a couple of minutes and it could have long-lasting impacts on the Mercyhurst community.

Use your voice for good! As a student at Mercyhurst University, you have the right to speak up for what you think the campus should look like, so use that privilege for the betterment of the overall environment by applying for a grant.