Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program – Change Grants


The UConn Co-op: A Legacy
Program Overview
Alumni Spotlight
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 complete a series of reflections over the course of the project period and have the opportunity to participate in professional development programming. In addition, at the conclusion of their projects, recipients will serve on the Change Grant program advisory board and support new Change Grant 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 alumni profiles below.

Alumni Spotlight

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship - Change Grant, 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, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, and Bachelor of Social Work degrees.
  • Be in good academic standing at the time of application. Recipients must remain in good academic standing throughout the project period.
  • Have at least one full semester of coursework remaining after the semester in which they apply.
    • Applicants applying in Fall 2021 must plan to graduate no earlier than May 2022.
    • Applicants applying in Spring 2022 must plan to graduate no earlier than December 2022.
  • Be supervised by a UConn affiliate (faculty or professional staff member). Projects do not need to be completed on-campus, but a UConn affiliate must be actively engaged in the supervision of the project work. Applicants must have a project mentor secured at the time of application.

For group applications, all group members must meet the eligibility requirements.


Program Timeline

The Change Grant application will open on August 30, 2021 and close on February 28, 2022.

Applications will be reviewed monthly starting in October 2021. Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm on the last day of the month in order to be considered for review in the following month. For example, in order for the application to be reviewed in October 2021, it will need to be submitted no later than 11:59pm on September 30, 2021.

Submission Deadlines:

  • September 30, 2021, 11:59pm
  • October 31, 2021, 11:59pm
  • November 30, 2021, 11:59pm
    • Please note, there will be no review in January 2022; applications submitted December 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022 will be reviewed in February 2022.
  • January 31, 2022, 11:59pm
  • February 28, 2022, 11:59pm

Award notifications will be made within a month of review.

Students are encouraged to apply early. Awards will be made until funds are exhausted.

Funded project work must be completed within 6 months of award notification. Exceptions to this will be considered on an individual basis based on the needs of the projects or other factors that impact the timeline (e.g., needing research approvals before project work can begin).

For students who are graduating the semester following their award notification, project work must be completed by graduation.

At the conclusion of the project, recipients are required to submit a project profile that describes the work supported by the Change Grant.

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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

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

The online recommendation form includes the following questions:

  • Describe the 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.
  • Please outline your familiarity with and knowledge of the proposed research project, service initiative, creative endeavor, or social innovation, and the potential impact of the project.
  • Please provide an assessment of the student's qualifications and preparation to engage in the proposed project.
  • How do you anticipate the student(s) will benefit from completing this project and/or receiving a Change Grant?
  • Are there aspects of the project that need further development? Do you have any reservations about the proposed project?
  • Does the project require research approvals? If the project requires research approvals (IRB, IACUC), are you able to provide the student(s) with support and assistance with securing approval?

Please note: The online recommendation form and mentorship agreement is confidential; your answers will not be shared with applicants.

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

If the student has initiated the recommendation request, but you cannot locate the email, you can still complete 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 request on your dashboard.

The Change Grant application will open on August 30, 2021. Applications will be reviewed monthly starting October 2021 and continuing through March 2022.

Submission Deadlines:

  • September 30, 2021, 11:59pm
  • October 31, 2021, 11:59pm
  • November 30, 2021, 11:59pm
    • Please note, there will be no review in January; applications submitted December 1, 2021 through January 31, 2022 will be reviewed in February 2022.
  • January 31, 2022, 11:59pm
  • February 28, 2022, 11:59pm

Complete applications, including the online recommendation form from the project mentor, must be submitted by the submission deadline in order to be considered for review in following month. For example, in order for the application to be reviewed in October 2021, the complete application will need to be submitted no later than 11:59pm on September 30, 2021.

For questions please contact Melissa Berkey at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu.
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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. 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 needs confirmation that the organization is willing to move forward with planning.

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 via email to Melissa Berkey, melissa.berkey@uconn.edu. Please send letters as an attachment (Word doc or PDF).

Applications will be reviewed monthly starting October 2021 and continuing through March 2022. Complete applications, which may include a letter of support, must be submitted by the submission deadlines below in order to be considered for review in the following month. For example, in order for the application to be reviewed in October 2021, the complete application will need to be submitted via the Quest Portal or through email no later than 11:59pm on September 30, 2021.

Submission Deadlines:

  • September 30, 2021, 11:59pm
  • October 31, 2021, 11:59pm
  • November 30, 2021, 11:59pm
  • January 31, 2022, 11:59pm
  • February 28, 2022, 11:59pm

For questions please contact Melissa Berkey at melissa.berkey@uconn.edu.

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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 applicants.


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, your project mentor will need to complete an online recommendation form and 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 recommendations be submitted as part of the application?

Yes, groups may have more than one project mentor. Only one mentor needs to complete the online recommendation form and mentorship agreement. Additional recommendations will not be accepted.

I submitted my application by the end of the month, but my mentor has not yet completed the recommendation form. Will my application still be reviewed?

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 complete the online recommendation form. We understand that extenuating circumstances and busy schedules can make it difficult for mentors to complete the recommendation by the deadline. Applicants need to make every effort to ensure recommendations are completed prior to their target submission deadline. To ensure fairness to all applicants, only complete applications will be reviewed; incomplete applications will be held until all materials are received.


Why does the organization I'm partnering with need to submit a letter of support? If the letter of support is not received by the end of the month, will my application still be reviewed?

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 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 within the appropriate time frame. To ensure fairness to all applicants, only complete applications will be reviewed; incomplete applications will be held until all materials are received.


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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