For the second year, the Campus Climate Committee has awarded funding to students, faculty, and staff who submitted proposals in response to a call for demonstration grants. These programs are intended to develop best practices which help improve a sense of belonging on campus. The iBelong Project grants were developed in response to findings from the 2018 Culturally Engaging Campus Environments (CECE) survey that identified that students’ sense of belonging was 10% lower than overall student satisfaction. In the first year of the grant program, 16 projects were funded, ranging from book groups and art groups to speed-friending.
This year, an additional 16 grants will be awarded, with a total of $7,565 dispersed. The winning proposals and their submitting departments are:
- Graduate Students Involved in Volunteer Experiences – G.I.V.E. (Chi Sigma Alpha): A community-building series of volunteer opportunities, geared toward increasing graduate student belonging on campus.
- Photovoice Project Expansion (Office of Accessibility Resources & Services): A continuous project to offer students with disabilities an opportunity to have their voices heard through pictures and brief descriptions of the impact represented therein.
- Queer Cafe (UNCG Library): Creation of a safe environment that promotes inclusivity and community through the experiences shared by LGBTQ+ students and library staff.
- Delta Alpha Pi (Honor society for students with disabilities): The Zeta Phi chapter of Delta Alpha Pi was established at UNCG last year. As a prelude to establishing their mentoring program, their first in-person event will be held for students with disabilities or chronic conditions to meet and get to know each other and members of DAPi, in order to increase engagement and establish a sense of community.
- Sensory Lounge (Office of Accessibility Resources & Services and Recreation & Wellness): These sensory spaces in the Elliott University Center and Kaplan Center will help provide a space for any students to regroup and self-calm. They will be designed to help users engage with their senses and reap the benefits of sensory stimulation in a safe and relaxed environment, regardless of their age or ability. The RecWell space will help provide more mental health programming and resources at the Kaplan Center.
- Ashby Dialogue Series (School of Education): The Ashby Dialogue Series is a year-long series of conversations to bring the community together over discussion of topics between faculty and students.
- Exploring Gender (Student-led): A workshop in which students can explore how they are affected by gender and how they can come to terms with their own gendered upbringing, with a special focus on Transgender students.
- Project Junctions (School of Theatre): The School of Theatre is providing students with a series of welcoming and inclusion activities to build a deeper sense of belonging. The focus is on welcoming new students and helping them feel like a part of the community at UNCG.
- Weatherspoon CoWAM Project (Weatherspoon Art Museum and Housing & Residence Life): In collaboration with Housing & Residence Life, CoWAM students will create and distribute an interactive bulletin board exercise to be used throughout the residence halls during the spring semester and an event with a similar activity at Fountain View. These interactive boards will be designed to engage students in the artist’s central question: how to counteract the Westernized idea of either/or (oppositional) thinking by introducing the duality of both/and (coexistent) thinking.
- Blue Table Talk (Campus Activities & Programs & Dean of Students Office): A series of dialoguing and networking opportunities to support UNCG’s Black women students. This program began in Fall 2020, and consists of monthly panels that covers topics gained from a student focus group.
- Succeed at the G Reunion (FYE): Students will have the opportunity to reconnect with their FYE instructor, their Peer Academic Leader (PAL), and peers at Fountain View Dining Hall. Students will share a meal while participating in guided discussion facilitated by their instructor and PAL.
- Book Club (Lloyd International Honors College): Due to the overwhelming response and success of last year’s iBelong book club, this year the Honors Advisors will partner with Tulsa Community College’s Honors Program in Reading Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, which will be provided free of cost to partcipants. There are parallels between the history of Native Americans in Oklahoma and North Carolina, and this will take a deep dive in its history.
- Representation on the Podium (CVPA – Fulbright Scholar Carole Ott Coelho) Conductors of choral ensembles at UNCG have been predominantly, if not exclusively, white. This reflects the imbalance of representation on the podium in the greater field of choral music at the university level. To address this imbalance, Lemar (LJ) Martin, UNCG BME Music 2019, director of the Greensboro Youth Chorus and choir director at Wheatmore High School, will be invited to guest conduct the University Chorale in concert on February 27, 2022. In addition, Carole and LJ will create an extracurricular choral ensemble of Black students at UNCG to perform one or two works at the concert.
- Bollywood Dance Group (UNCG Jalwa): To help Jalwa’s audience as well as dancers feel more connected to the South Asian culture, more traditional clothing will be introduced. Additionally, to build more sense of connectedness among members, more chai and samosas nights will be held to incorporate traditional South Asian snacks.
iBelong projects are funded through the generous support of the Bank of Oak Ridge, UNCG’s Chancellor’s Office, and the Division of Student Affairs at UNCG.