Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program – Change Grants


The UConn Co-op: A Legacy
Program Overview
Eligibility
Program Timeline
How to Apply
Information for Recommenders
Letters of Support from Partner Organizations
FAQ
Forms and Materials

BE THE CHANGE
$2000 grants for social impact projects


The UConn Co-op: A Legacy

A 1983 photograph of the second UConn Co-op building
A 1983 photograph of the second UConn Co-op building, which opened on Fairfield Way in 1980. The original UConn Co-op opened in the Student Union in 1975. (UConn File Photo)

The UConn Co-op (University of Connecticut Co-operative Corporation) was a member-owned, student and faculty governed, non-profit bookstore that served the University of Connecticut for 41 years, incorporating in January of 1975, beginning operations in April of 1975, and selling its last book in June of 2016. The Co-op was deeply committed to supporting and enhancing the academic and cultural life of the University community. It was widely known for its numerous literary events, bringing high-profile authors to campus as well as hosting writers in many fields, including faculty and student authors. It co-founded the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair with the UConn Libraries and continued that partnership for 24 years. The Co-op was dedicated to the Arts, Human Rights, Diversity, and the Environment and worked closely with the Cultural Centers, many departments on campus, students and student groups, faculty, area schools, and the local community to further those aims.

As the bookstore, the Co-op served all the UConn campuses, providing course books and materials, computers and computer repair services, supplies, gifts, and Husky branded clothing and merchandise. As a non-profit co-operative, the Co-op was able to offer competitive prices, as well as make donations to many worthy groups on campus and in the community. With its remaining funds, the UConn Co-op created endowments to continue its work and service to the University community.

Program Overview

Born out of the UConn Co-op’s commitment to public engagement, innovative entrepreneurship, social impact, and active mentorship, the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grants provide undergraduates the opportunity to engage in projects that make an impact and express the core values of the UConn Co-op: innovation, leadership, and service.

UConn undergraduates in all majors can apply for up to $2000 in funding to support community service, research, advocacy, or social innovation projects. Projects need to be student-designed and/or student-led. Applications are accepted from individuals and from small groups (no more than 3 people) who will be working collaboratively or co-leading an initiative.

To honor the UConn Co-op's emphasis on developing leaders, students who receive a UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grant will be required to complete a series of professional and leadership development activities and reflections over the course of their project period. In addition, program participants will be matched with peer mentors to provide additional support throughout the project period. In turn, program alumni will be asked to serve as peer mentors for new recipients.

What can you do with a Change Grant?

  • Engage in a service initiative that benefits the UConn community or the broader community
  • Provide training, resources, or educational activities to fill unmet needs
  • Conduct research that has the potential to benefit the UConn community or the broader community, address community needs, inform policy, or impact practice
  • Engage in an artistic endeavor or creative intervention that addresses social issues
  • Design and/or prototype a product, device, or service that fills an unmet need, impacts the lives of others, and/or addresses a social or environmental problem

Need more inspiration? Learn about the work done by previous recipients by clicking on the profiles below.

Link to Rebecca Feldman Bio.
Link to Aditi Sirsikar Profile.
Link to Michael Hernandez Bio.
Link to Madeline Williams Bio.
Link to Margaret Sanders Profile.
Link to Maggi Anstett Bio.
Link to Mitali Banerjee Profile.
Link to Taylor Endress Profile.
Link to Erdit Abenini Profile.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grant to engage in a student-designed or student-led project students must:

  • Currently be pursuing a bachelor’s degree at UConn. This includes students pursuing Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Science in Engineering degrees.
  • Plan to graduate with a bachelor's degree no earlier than:
    • December 2020 for the Fall 2019 application cycle
    • May 2021 for the Spring 2020 application cycle
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application. Recipients must remain in good academic standing throughout the project period.
  • Be supervised by a UConn affiliate (faculty or professional staff member). Projects do not need to be completed on-campus, but someone at UConn must be actively engaged in the supervision of the project work.
  • Commit to participating in professional and leadership development activities during the project period.
  • Commit to presenting their project outcomes at a UConn Co-op Legacy capstone event in September 2020.
  • Agree to serve as a peer mentor for a future UConn Co-op Legacy Change Grant project.

Please note: For group projects, all students included on the group application must meet eligibility requirements.
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Program Timeline

There are two application cycles per academic year. Please review the application cycle information below and the eligibility criteria above to determine which cycle is the best fit for you and your project.

Fall 2019 Application Cycle

  • Application deadline: Monday, September 30, 2019, 11:59pm
  • Notifications: Decisions will be announced the week of October 21, 2019
  • Project Finalization: Recipients will refine and finalize their project plans, and have their finalized plans approved by the Office of Undergraduate Research and their project mentor(s), prior to disbursement of funding. If needed, students must secure appropriate research approvals before project work begins.
  • Project Work: Project work can begin once plans are finalized. All project work must be completed by the start of the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Project Presentation: Recipients are required to participate in a UConn Co-op Legacy capstone event in September 2020 where they will have the opportunity to discuss their project and share their results with the University community.

Spring 2020 Application Cycle

  • Application deadline: Monday, February 10, 2020, 11:59pm
  • Notifications: Decisions will be announced the week of March 9, 2020
  • Project Finalization: Recipients will refine and finalize their project plans, and have their finalized plans approved by the Office of Undergraduate Research and their project mentor(s), prior to disbursement of funding. If needed, students must secure appropriate research approvals before project work begins.
  • Project Work: Project work can begin once plans are finalized. All project work must be completed by the end of the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Project Presentation: Recipients are required to participate in a UConn Co-op Legacy capstone event in September 2020 where they will have the opportunity to discuss their project and share their results (preliminary results or project plans, for projects that have not been completed) with the University community.

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How to Apply

Applications for the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grants are submitted online. Go to the Submit an Application page to learn more about the application process.

If you have questions about the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grants or the application process, schedule an appointment with program coordinator Melissa Berkey via Nexus or contact her through email at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu.
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Information for Recommenders/Project Mentors

Effective supervision is a key factor in a successful project experience. Students benefit from the guidance of their mentors while they engage in project work or research, encounter and seek to overcome roadblocks, navigate community partnerships, lead a team, and map out next steps.

Change Grant applicants are required to secure a project mentor prior to applying. As part of the application process, we ask project mentors to complete an online mentorship agreement and submit a letter of recommendation. It is the student’s responsibility to identify a mentor, discuss their project proposal, and secure their willingness to complete and submit a letter of recommendation by the application deadline.

Project mentors are asked to address the following items, as applicable, in their letter of recommendation:

  • Length of time and in what context(s) you have known the student(s). For group projects, please address your relationship with each group member.
  • Your knowledge of and familiarity with the proposed research project, service initiative, creative endeavor, or social innovation.
  • Your assessment of the student's qualifications and preparation to engage in the proposed project.
  • Your assessment of how this award and completing this project might benefit the student(s) and/or have broader social impact.

Submission Process and Deadlines
Students will request letters via the online application system (quest.uconn.edu). Once initiated by the student, recommenders will receive an email from the “UConn Quest Portal” (email address is noreply@smapply.io) with instructions for submitting the recommendation. Please follow the link emailed to you to upload your letter of recommendation and to complete an online project mentorship agreement.

If the student has initiated the letter request, but you cannot locate the email, you can still submit your recommendation via the Quest Portal. Go to the main Quest Portal page, click “Log In” in the top right, select “UConn Single Sign-on” and log in with your netID and password; you should then see the recommendation task to complete.

Letters of recommendation need to be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • Fall 2019 application cycle: Monday, September 30, 2019, 11:59pm
  • Spring 2020 application cycle: Monday, February 10, 2020, 11:59pm

For questions please contact Melissa Berkey at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu or (860) 486-5189.
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Letters of Support from Partner Organizations

For projects that involve collaborating with an organization outside of UConn, we require a letter of support from the organization acknowledging that they have discussed the project with the student(s) and are agreeing to collaborate on the project.

As part of the online application completed by the student(s), they will provide the name and email address of the organization contact. The contact will receive an email from the “UConn Quest Portal” (email address is noreply@smapply.io) with instructions for submitting the letter of support through the online application system. Alternately, letters of support can be submitted directly via email to Melissa Berkey, melissa.berkey@uconn.edu. Please send letters as an attachment (Word doc or PDF).

Letters of support need to be submitted by the following deadlines:

  • Fall 2019 application cycle: Monday, September 30, 2019, 11:59pm
  • Spring 2020 application cycle: Monday, February 10, 2020, 11:59pm

For questions please contact Melissa Berkey at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu or (860) 486-5189.

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FAQ

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Does receiving a Change Grant affect my eligibility for other OUR awards?

Students considering applying for a Change Grant along with another OUR award programs should schedule an appointment with Melissa Berkey to discuss their proposed project and how that project may align with other OUR funding programs.


Can funding be used to support my student organization?

Projects should be new or should expand upon initiatives already underway. Funding cannot be used to support the continuation of current initiatives. Student organizations are encouraged to meet with program coordinator Melissa Berkey to discuss their project ideas and budgetary needs prior to applying to assure the project meets funding criteria.


Can funding be used for unpaid internships or volunteer program fees?

No. Funding is designated to support student-designed, student-led initiatives. Funds cannot be used to support unpaid internships or fee-based volunteer programs.


Can students apply for funding as a group? Is there a limit to the number of applicants?

Students may apply individually or as part of a small group working collaboratively on a project. Groups are limited to no more than 3 members.


If we apply as a group, can we receive more than $2000 for our project?

No, the funding is limited to $2000 per project and is not impacted by the number of applicants connected to the project.


Can graduate students be part of a group project?

Graduate students are not eligible to apply for a Change Grant, but they may participate in or provide support for projects that undergraduate recipients are engaged in.


I have a project idea but don't have a mentor. Can I apply now and secure a mentor later?

No, you need to have a mentor secured prior to applying. As part of the application, a letter of recommendation must be submitted by the mentor, and the project mentor will be asked to complete a mentorship agreement.


Does the project mentor need to be affiliated with UConn?

Yes, the primary project mentor should be a faculty or professional staff member from UConn. Students may have a secondary mentor from the wider community.


Can groups have multiple project mentors? Can additional letters of recommendation be submitted as part of the application?

Yes, groups may have more than one project mentor. Only one mentor needs to complete the mentorship agreement and submit a letter of recommendation. Additional letters of recommendation will not be accepted.


My mentor is unable to submit their recommendation letter by the application deadline – does this hurt my chances of getting a Change Grant?

Applicants are encouraged to speak with potential project mentors early in the process, allowing them ample time to agree to serve as a mentor and submit a letter of recommendation. We understand that extenuating circumstances and busy schedules can make it difficult for mentors to submit letters by the deadline. Applicants need to make every effort to ensure letters are submitted and their application is complete by the deadline. To ensure fairness to all applicants, complete applications will receive priority consideration for funding.


Why does the organization I'm partnering with need to submit a letter of support? The organization I am partnering with is unable to submit a letter of support by the application deadline - does this hurt my chances of getting a Change Grant?

For projects taking place in collaboration with community organizations, we need to assure the partner organization is aware of and supportive of the initiative in order to fully evaluate the project's feasibility. We understand that the partnership may still be in an early phase and that the details of the collaboration may not be fully developed. That's OK, but the review committee still needs to know that the organization is willing to move forward with planning. The letter of support provides the necessary assurance that this is the case. Applicants need to speak with their partners early in the process and make every effort to ensure letters are submitted by the deadline.


How soon can I begin project work?

Change Grant recipients can begin project work once their finalized plans are approved by the Office of Undergraduate Research and their project mentor(s). If research approvals are needed, verification of approval must be submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Research prior to starting project work.


I have questions about the Change Grant; is there someone I can speak with?

If you have questions about Change Grant or the application process, schedule an appointment with program coordinator Melissa Berkey or contact her through email at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu.


I was not selected to receive a Change Grant. Can you tell me why?

OUR staff are available to meet with applicants to provide feedback about the strengths and weaknesses the review committee identified in their proposals. We will not provide rubrics, scores, or name the reviewers of particular proposals. Please schedule an appointment with program coordinator Melissa Berkey via Nexus or contact her through email at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu.

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Forms and Materials

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