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.
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 Mission. The 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.
Final funding decisions will be made based on overall impact score, available funds and the funding level required for project implementation with the goal of accepting proposals from a range of colleges. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their submission via email.
Significance – relevance, quality and merit of the proposed project/program.
Does the project/program address an important problem, address a community need or overcome a barrier to deepen understanding and support inclusion?
Will the impact of the project/program build capacities that help live out the fullness of our diversity?
Would successful completion of the goals cultivate connections relevant to diversity of identities, values, beliefs and/or ideologies?
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? Who is the target audience?
Innovation – potential for impact through development of novel solutions and processes.
Does the project demonstrate innovative ways to shift existing patterns of communication and engagement?
Does the project address new ways to identify and/or address barriers currently limiting improved understanding and engagement across difference (ie. structural/institutional barriers)?
Does the project take a novel, holistic approach to answering a question or solving a problem that can improve understanding and engagement across differences?
Budget– need for resources to support proposed research.
Are budget allocations appropriate and likely to contribute to success?
Are funds requested already available from alternative sources (ie. from home department or TCU)?
Is there co-sponsorship for the program so the proposed funding is not the only funding source covering the expense of the program? If so, please list all other anticipated sources of funding.
Approach – rigor of design of the plan to meet proposed objectives and goals.
Is there a high likelihood of being successfully implemented during the proposed time frame?
Is the overall strategy to develop the program/project appropriate to accomplish the goals of the project?
Does the proposal have a clear outreach plan for the program/project?
Are benchmarks for success identified? How will the program reach the proposed objectives or goals? (ie. how will you know it is successful)?
If needed, is there a clear plan for full compliance with institutional policies, rules, and guidelines as needed (ie. IRB etc)?
Does the program/project build on strengths of existing programs or initiatives?
Evaluation – effective plan to measure success and impact of the program/project
Is there an effective plan to assess the outcome of the project/program?
Are the evaluation methods for assessing outcomes and impact of the program adequate?
Future Plans and Long-term impact –
Is the program/project sustainable after the award period?
Is there potential for additional support or funding to support this program/project in the future?
Will the project yield a broadly applicable, generalizable approach solution to an important problem that can be shared and applied in other places at Tufts (ie. can lessons learned be applied in other contexts at Tufts)?
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?
Are there adequate plans for follow up after the event/program?
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:
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.
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.
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.
Soup and Substance – A weekly book club that would read “The intersections of identity and sexual violence on campus: Centering Minoritized Student’s Experiences”.
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.
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.
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)
Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.