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The goal of the Bridging Differences initiative is to improve understanding and engagement across divergent perspectives at Tufts, through effective communication and programming. Our focus is on all members of our community—students, faculty, and staff, with an appreciation that lessons learned at Tufts can be applied in other contexts.

The Bridging Differences Grant program will support, develop and launch multiple new initiatives that support the Bridging Differences mission and vision. Recognizing the need for seed funding to support initiatives that can meet this need, we are soliciting requests from Tufts students, faculty and staff for funding of events, projects, and programs that can bridge differences across Tufts. Our plan is to enable our campus community to develop programming that will broadly support and develop structures, processes, and skills for students, faculty, and staff to engage constructively across differences.

If you have questions in anticipation of the funding deadline, please contact

Program Overview


Any Tufts student, faculty, or staff member may apply for up to $2,000 in funding for projects that will be implemented during the current academic year. We also encourage submissions that represent projects between multiple participants (ie. collaborative projects between students, faculty and staff, cross-school projects).

All proposals are required to support the Bridging Differences MissionThe BDTF encourages applications that are proposed by members of multiple campuses or by a cross section of students, staff, and faculty.  Projects that aim to unify multiple campuses or cross sections of the Tufts community are highly encouraged.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure: All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential and will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts.

Selection Criteria

Relevance – ability to meet objectives and mission of the Bridging Differences initiative

  1. Does it develop effective programming that supports and improves understanding and constructive engagement across difference at Tufts? In light of Tufts’ focus on becoming an antiracist institution, does the project help advance Tufts as an antiracist University?
  2. Do the goals of the project clearly address an important problem?
  3. Does the proposed work have capacity to bridge diverse groups across the Tufts community (i.e. building bridges across schools, across faculty, staff and students etc.)?
  4. Does the event focus on one group (i.e. students) or multiple groups (i.e. students and staff)?
  5. Does the program promote cross school or cross campus collaboration?


Significance – quality and merit of the proposed project/program

  1. Does the project/program address an important problem, address a community need or overcome a barrier to deepen understanding and support inclusion?
  2. Will the impact of the project/program build capacities that help live out the fullness of our diversity?
  3. Would successful completion of the goals cultivate connections relevant to diversity of identities, values, beliefs and/or ideologies?
  4. What is the expected reach of the program? How many individuals will experience the impact of the program? If a small number will be impacted by this first event, are subsequent programs likely to reach many more?


 Innovation – potential for impact through development of novel solutions and processes

  1. Does the project demonstrate innovative ways to shift existing patterns of communication and engagement?
  2. Does the project address new ways to identify and/or address barriers currently limiting improved understanding and engagement across difference (i.e. structural/institutional barriers)?
  3. Does the project take a novel, holistic approach to answering a question or solving a problem that can improve understanding and engagement across differences?


 Applicants – qualifications of the individuals or teams to carry out proposed program/project

  1. Do the applicants for the project have the appropriate skills and experience to complete the project?
  2. If a cross-school or team-based project is proposed, is it clear how the program/project will linked across sites or schools?


Budget– need for resources to support proposed research

  1. Are budget allocations appropriate and likely to contribute to success?
  2. Are funds requested already available from alternative sources (i.e. from home department)?
  3. Is there co-sponsorship for the program so the proposed funding is not the only funding source covering the expense of the program?


 Approach – rigor of design of the plan to meet proposed objectives and goals

  1. Is there a high likelihood of being successfully implemented during the proposed time frame?
  2. Is the overall strategy to develop the program/project appropriate to accomplish the goals of the project?
  3. Does the proposal have a clear outreach plan for the program/project?
  4. Are benchmarks for success identified (i.e. how will you know it is successful)?
  5. Is the project feasible and with a high likelihood of success?
  6. Is the evaluation plan clearly articulated and adequate for assessing outcome and impact?
  7. If needed, is there a clear plan for full compliance with institutional policies, rules, and guidelines as needed (i.e. IRB etc)?
  8. Does the program/project build on strengths of existing programs or initiatives?
  9. Does the application outline a reasonable COVID alternative plan?
  10. Does the program align with current national matters or current Tufts initiatives?


Evaluation – effective plan to measure success and impact of the program/project

  1. Is there an effective plan to assess the short-term and intermediate outcomes of the project/program?
  2. Are the evaluation methods for assessing outcomes and impact of the program adequate?


Future Plans and Long-term impact

  1. Is the program/project sustainable after the award period?
  2. Is there potential for additional support or funding to support this program/project in the future?
  3. Will the project yield a broadly applicable, generalizable solution to an important problem that can be shared and applied in other places at Tufts (i.e. can lessons learned be applied in other contexts at Tufts)?
  4. What is the long-range impact of the program or event and how will it connect to the goals and themes of the BD initiative?
  5. Will there be clear efforts to make the initiative sustainability (i.e. connecting to advancement or a future seed grant?
  6. What will be the follow up after this event/program?


Funding Decision

Final funding decisions will be made based on funding recommendations, overall impact score, available funds and the funding level required for study implementation. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their submission via email. Reviewers’ comments will be provided to all applicants, regardless of whether or not they are awarded funding.


Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential and will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts.


Complete the application form here.

Applicants should submit a fully completed application by Friday, February 12th at 5:00pm. All applicants will receive notification on their proposal and all accepted projects will be posted on our website.

2020 Seed Grant Recipients

CARE Outreach and Education Initiatives

Project Leads:

Kyla Martin, Resource and Prevention Specialist


  • The Group of Six
  • the International Center
  • University Chaplaincy
  • the SMFA at Tufts
  • Health Services
  • Counseling and Mental Health Service
  • ASAP
  • Ears for Peers
  • Green Dot Ambassadors
  • Sex Health Representatives


Ongoing throughout the Spring 2020 semester


To expand outreach to specific identity groups and education around the intersection of identity and sexual violence, the Center for Awareness, Resources, and Education (CARE) is proposing four initiatives for the Spring:

  1. CARE bags – Grounding kits for students who have been impacted by violence. Grounding is a technique used to keep a person present in the moment through sensory and cognitive awareness.
  2. Convos and Coloring with CARE – a Talking Circle giving students an opportunity to explore their personal needs and the external expectations around relationships, community, identity, and culture.
  3. Bake it Till You Make it (Live) - A program facilitated by mental health activist and mental health cookbook author, Dayna Altman. Dayna tells the story of her mental health lived experience and the healing she has found through advocacy by creating the first of its kind mental health and resilience cookbook, “Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience”, while cooking two recipes from her book.
  4. Soup and Substance – A weekly book club that would read “The intersections of identity and sexual violence on campus: Centering Minoritized Student’s Experiences”.


Color of Us

Project Leads:

  • Ashley Hunter, Founder and Administrative Coordinator for TUSM Educational Affairs
  • Irene Mutwiri, Project Administrator for the Fletcher School


  •  African Student Organization
  • Caribbean Student Organization
  • Black Student Union
  • Black Graduate Student Association
  • Black Faculty and Staff Alliance


Ongoing events throughout Summer and Fall 2020


The Color of Us (CoU) project addresses the lack of diversity and inclusion resources available to black students, staff, and faculty on the Tufts Boston Campus. CoU aims to collaborate with Medford-based Tufts organizations to foster cross-campus inclusion initiatives that celebrate all black identities represented in the Tufts community.

Generational Leadership Advancements for Minorities (GLAM) Series 

Project Lead:

Tatiana Henry, Student and Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity (TVCD) Co-Chair


  • Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity (TVCD)
  • Tufts chapters of Broad Spectrum Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE)
  • Women’s Veterinary Leadership Initiative (WVLDI)
  • Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA)
  • Adriana Black, Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion Education and Training


Ongoing events throughout Spring 2020


Generational Leadership Advancements for Minorities (GLAM) is a lecture and workshop series designed to address the unique barriers to diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine.

Indigenous Arts, Theory and Practice (IATP) Symposium

Project Leads:

Lilian Mengesha, Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature


  • Courtney McDermott, Administrator for the Center for Humanities at Tufts
  • Abigail Satinsky, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs at the SMFA
  • Olivia Michiko Gagnon, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Humanities at Tufts


March 26-27, 2020


There is a need in our community to deepen the understanding of Indigenous people, and Indigenous Arts, Theory and Practice (IATP). IATP is a two-day interdisciplinary symposium that will bring together a diverse group of artists and scholars working within critical Indigenous studies and the performing arts. The focus is on interdisciplinary thinking, doing, and collaborative creation within critical Indigenous studies, an interdisciplinary field concerned with the history and traditional/contemporary practices of Native people in the Americas.

Specifically, this symposium will impact the campus social climate by bringing a visible and important presence of transnational and pan-Indigenous artists and scholars in conversation across the Americas including First Nations, Native American, mestizo/a/x and Indigenous people of the Latin America. The invited speakers are leaders in their respective fields of dance, language reclamation, theatre, new media and performance art.

Institutionalizing Diversity Efforts

Project Leads:

  • Najah Walton, Co-President, Black Students Association, Tufts Health Sciences Campus
  • Jasmine Fernandez, Co-President, Latino Medical Students Association, Medical School
  • Rina Asemamaw, Senate President, Public Health and Professional Degrees Program (PHPD)
  • Dr. Ndidamakai Amutah-Onukagah, Associate Professor, Chair PHCM Diversity Committee


  • Black Students’ Alliance
  • Latino Medical Students’ Association (LMSA)
  • PHPD Senate
  • Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
  • Diversity Committee


Ongoing throughout Spring/Summer and Fall 2020


This project proposes student-focused and led talk-back (town-hall) sessions organized as a joint and collaborative partnership between the Public Health Department’s Diversity Committee, the Latino Medical Students’ Association, the Black Students’ Alliance and the Public Health and Professional Degree Program Student Senate. The proposed talk-back sessions will include discussions that address current gaps in inclusion and diversity efforts on campus. Points raised at the talkback sessions will be presented as action points to the larger Tufts community and serve as input into the university’s future diversity efforts.

Neurodiversity is Social Justice: An educational series on disability as diversity/inclusive practices for student services

Project Leads:

Eileen Crehan, Assistant Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development


  • Kate Pillette, Learning Specialist, Student Accessibility Services
  • Kristen Wederski, graduate student, Residential Life
  • Julie Lynch, undergraduate student, CAST member


  • February 3, 2020
  • March 2, 2020
  • April 6, 2020
  • May 4, 2020


This series of programs will be provided by Eileen Crehan, Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in autism in adulthood, Kate Pillette, SAS Learning Specialist and nationally certified school psychologist, and Julia, a student with an ASD diagnosis. The goal of these trainings is to make the academic and social spaces on campus more accessible to neurodiverse students by educating faculty and student support staff on ways they can create a welcoming and accessible environment for all.

Refugees in Towns Conference and Arts Festival

Project Leads:

  • Victoria Johnson, Student, Fletcher School
  • Stephanie Khoury Faculty, Department of Music


  • Karen Jacobsen, Professor
  • Feinstein International Center
  • RIT program director Charles Simpson
  • RIT program Administrator Marina Lazetic
  • Additional conference and art festival organizers.


April 3-4, 2020


The Refugees in Towns Conference and Arts Festival is a two-day program linked to the Refugees in Towns (RIT) research project on refugee integration which runs through the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University since 2017. The goal of this conference and arts festival is to deepen understanding on refugee experience and support inclusion from host institutions and the wider Boston and global community. The RIT Conference and Arts Festival addresses refugee integration at a localized, grass-roots level through case studies of integration written by refugees in different towns both domestically and abroad.

Understanding Fletcher’s Gaps and Improving Fletcher Attractiveness to Under-represented Minority (URM) Students

Project Leads:

Carolyn Gideon, Adjunct Professor of International Communication Policy, Director of Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs, Chair of Diversity and Inclusions Committee


  • Laurie Hurley, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Fletcher School
  • Fletcher Community Collective
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Fletcher School




In trying to make Fletcher a more diverse and inclusive community, this initiative seeks to increase the recruitment of under-represented minority (URM) students and better achieve inclusive excellence to make all feel welcome, comfortable, and supported for success. While information has been collected from a variety of sources, including climate surveys and other student surveys, there is much more to learn in order to continue to improve inclusiveness. This is essential both for attracting more URM students and for improving the experience of those who do enroll at Fletcher.

This project is designed to help more fully understand what URM students are truly looking for when they choose where to apply and where to enroll. To better understand Fletcher’s gaps in creating an inclusive community where URM students strive and want to join, in-depth focus group discussions will be conducted with admitted URM students, both those who do and do not choose to enroll at Fletcher.

10th Annual Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR) Conference featuring keynote speaker, Daniel Alvarenga

Project Leads:

Alejandro Baez, Student and Vice President, Tufts United for Immigrant Justice


  • Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
  • Tufts Asian Student Coalition (TASC)
  • Action for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP)
  • FIRST Resource Center (through direction and guidance from Margot Cardamone)
  • Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW)


April 3-5, 2020


The CAIR Conference has been organized to bring together college students, activists, scholars, and other members of the national pro-immigrant rights community to share strategies and empower ourselves in our pursuit of achieving comprehensive and humanitarian immigration reform. The conference will focus on the empowerment of the student body in action towards immigrant justice, while emphasizing and encouraging solidarity across movements in immigration. This focus is important as the conversation surrounding immigration has largely been Mexican-centric and has often excluded the voices of those outside of this topic.

Daniel's work centers the struggles and existence of Central Americans, who as of 2017, make up a community of 3,527,000 (per data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). The integration of Daniel's work and the varying perspectives that he covers will increase the diversity of what is considered to be an immigrant. To rely on past approaches that only centered Mexican immigrants won't encompass the needs of those from a different country or culture.