As part of the UNCG Greensboro iBelong project launched in Spring 2019 and the Campus Climate initiatives, a total of $7,400 will be awarded in support of projects that help build a sense of belonging among Spartans.
These projects have been selected for their innovative ideas to build deeper community and connections between students across campus. The 2020 – 2021 grant winners are (with project leads in parentheses):
- Switching Lenses: Reflecting on environment and creating a sustainable peer-support program for belonging for students with disabilities. (Merve Ozdemir, Specialized Educational Services)
- Engaging New International Students: Assisting new international students in building connections to UNCG through digital supports. (Stephanie Guzman, International Student and Scholar Services)
- A Stitch in Time: Individuals will share historical stories through writing, fashion, photography, and other mediums. (Kiara Bethune, Apparel Product Design)
- First Generation College Students and Belonging: Creating social and mental health support for first-generation students. (Ariana Watkins, Psychology)
- Lloyd International Honors College: Fostering community and increasing opportunities for students to engage with one another. (Julie Boyer, Lloyd International Honors College)
- Come Talk with GSA: A monthly meeting for graduate students to discuss issues and provide support for student concerns. (Lexi Hoopman, Graduate Student Association)
- CVRC Book Group: For students about self-care. (Charnessa Ridley, Campus Violence Response Center)
- Blue Table Topics: Black Womxn Students Creating Space for Black Womxn Students. (Briana Welsh, Residence Life, and Megan Karbley, Dean of Students Office)
- Town Hall: Key stakeholders from the University invited to listen to concerns and challenges faced by our commuter student population. (Daisy Santiago, Office of Intercultural Engagement)
- Video Game Reading Group: Group play of a video game themed around inequality and social justice and discussed together in a virtual space. (Vaughn Stewart, Digital ACT Studio)
- NASA Speaker: Brittany Hunt will speak about her experience as an indigenous person and navigating North Carolina education. (Sky Kihuwa-Mani)
- RecWell Day: Providing students with an overview of all the programs and opportunities provided through the Department of Recreation & Wellness. (Hannah Lanzillotta, UNCG Recreation)
- CHANCE Program: A reunion check-in event to support students who entered UNCG through the CHANCE program. (Julie Smith, Chancellor’s Fellow for Campus Climate)
- CVPA: Students will be invited to create a participatory community exhibition of handmade symbolic totems that highlight their own unique personal interests. (Sidney Stretz, College of Visual & Performing Arts)
- Speed Friending: A virtual event to support residential students in building friendships duriung the pandemic. (Paul Lentz, Housing and Residence Life)
- Hillel: Two book groups that support students to deepen understanding of diversity and inclusion. (Shayla Glynn)
- Get to Know Your Art Museum: Hosted by the Weatherspoon Art Museum. (Juliette Bianco, Weatherspoon Art Museum)
“We know that a student’s sense of belonging at their institution can have significant impacts on their overall success,” said Dr. Cathy Akens, vice chancellor for student affairs. “When we were considering what best ways to help our students build this sense of belonging, the committee felt we should ask the campus community to submit demonstration projects to expand the voices around the table. We were pleasantly surprised with the response from our campus, especially given the limitations presented by the pandemic. The concepts presented by our students and staff were diverse, and provide exciting opportunities to deepen community here at UNCG.”
The iBelong project was launched in Spring 2019 in order to better understand student experiences at UNCG. The project utilized the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) survey, developed by the National Institute for Transformation and Equity. The CECE survey measures college students’ perceptions of their campus environment through questions about aspects such as cultural groups, meaningful cross-cultural engagement, the ways in which faculty and staff support students, holistic support, and experiences around diversity and inclusion.
The Campus Climate Committee is co-chaired by Akens and Dr. Julie Mendez Smith, Chancellor’s Fellow for Campus Climate and professor of psychology.
For more information, visit sa.uncg.edu/ibelong.