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Student Engagement Grants

A student and community member work on a garden plot together at Plenty! Farm and Food Bank.

About the John E. Dooley Student Engagement Grant

Through the generosity of many donors, JEDSEG funds highly motivated students or student teams planning to implement or expand community-based civic engagement projects. Each year, up to $1,500 is awarded through the program.

Grant Details

The application for the 2020-21 grant is now closed. Interested in applying in the next cycle? Check out more information below; either download the Request for Proposals (RFP) as a PDF or view the same information on this webpage.

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2020_JEDSEG_RequestForProposals.pdf
  1. Any current Virginia Tech full or part-time undergraduate and graduate student(s). Applicants must be VT students for the duration of the grant.
  2. For student teams, a designated leader must submit the application on behalf of the team. A student team can be an informal group or a Registered Student Organization.
  3. JEDSEG grant winners from our last cycle (2018-19) are not eligible.
  4. Proposed projects should be completed by April 9, 2021.
  5. The application must request funding for a project that reinforces one or more of VT Engage’s core values:

    Increasing equity in every aspect of our work: we commit to incorporating anti-racist and decolonization principles into our daily work and into all our experiences. We seek to make our experiences as accessible and affordable as possible.

    Building mutually beneficial partnerships: we cultivate mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations and campus partners that advance community-identified priorities through ethical and sustainable action.

    Developing self-understanding & leadership identity: we engage leaders in identity development as they explore their role in contributing to positive social change. We help leaders understand the complex social issues and systems that create societal inequities.

    Advancing community-engaged scholarship: we support and create scholarship that contributes to the areas of leadership, service learning, and civic engagement. We develop and fund work in these areas and serve as a connection point between campus and community partners.

  1. If your project involves working with a community partner (e.g., a local nonprofit organization), you must submit a letter of support from the partner organization.
  2. Defining your community is up to you or your group. Community can be local, regional, international, etc. Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to reciprocal relationships either through existing collaborative efforts or a plan that demonstrates the potential to build these relationships.
  1. Complete the Objectives and Outcomes Matrix (see below document.) All budget items should be included in the matrix, regardless of funding source or relevance to objectives/outcomes. Viewing the example matrix will help you to understand what we expects from your own application materials, but remember that it is only a hypothetical example of a project.
  2. Plans that are incomplete or unclear will not be considered. If you need help drafting your plan, please contact us.
  3. Submit your application by September 30 at 11:59 p.m at this application link. .
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JEDSEG_Objectives_and_Outcomes_Matrix_2020-21.docx
Spending requirements

Grant recipients must pay for ALL expenses out of pocket, and then submit receipts for reimbursement by the university. Reimbursement will be made within 60 days of turning in receipts to VT Engage.

Reporting requirements

JEDSEG grantees will be expected to deliver an implemented assessment plan when the project is completed or, at the latest, by April 9, 2021. Funded projects should also prepare:

  1. A one-page narrative reflection describing the process of completing the project. The narrative should detail the impacts achieved through the project on the intended community and include a reflection on challenges and lessons learned.
  2. Photographic archive of the implemented project. A minimum of ten photographs documenting the project and its community impact should be submitted to VT Engage. Awardees’ photographs may be used on printed and/or web materials unless specifically prohibited.
  3. Grantees should expect to be in regular communication (e.g. brief check-in discussions two times per month) with VT Engage about the project’s progress throughout the entire grant cycle.
  4. There will be two project evaluations: a mid-term evaluation conducted in December 2020, and a final evaluation when the project is completed in April 2021.

Previous winners

Expanding the Market Kids Program

The New River Health District’s Market Kids program engages families of children ages 6 to 13 in horticulture, nutrition, and entrepreneurship as a way to improve health outcomes. Master of public health students Harper Lovegrove and Dylan Allanson, along with Nina Hoffmeyer, an undergraduate student studying human, nutrition, foods, and exercise, submitted a proposal to expand programming for Market Kids.

The students used the grant money to hold demonstrations and enhance classes with the children, buy composting materials, and developed field trips. To learn more about their work, read this VT Daily article.

Heather Lyne received a $1,500 award for her proposal to develop a story map of culturally underserved and underrepresented communities connected by the Roanoke River Greenway. A story map is a narrative about experiences in specific spaces or places. She intends to create the story map through interviews and surveys of residents along the greenway and at local events.

The story map will then serve as a foundation for public art and place-making projects aimed at empowering those communities. The project aims to strengthen civic cooperation in the area by focusing on greenway spaces where diverse neighborhoods and communities of both domestic and refugee families intersect. She will focus on these areas with mixed histories, heritages, incomes, professions, and beliefs in order to engage artists with residents, businesses and stakeholders in describing their local history and cultivating the social identity and physical fabric of their communities through shared spaces along the Greenway.

The Roanoke River Greenway story-map created in collaboration with neighborhoods will not remain passive. Instead, it will serve as an empowering foundation for a collective public art strategy and offers potential as an inclusive, transformational gateway and arts node, to residents and greenway users alike. Heather graduated with her master's degree in public and international affairs from Virginia Tech.

"Hale-Y Community Food Forest"

Doctoral forestry student Catherine Bukowski used her grant to help develop and expand the Hale-Y's community food forest.

“A feasibility study to reduce sugar sweetened beverage consumption among middle school youth in Buchanan County, VA.”

Behavioral and Community Science doctoral student, Hannah Lane, submitted this winning proposal. The selection committee said “it is an excellent example of the blending of best practices in community engagement and community-based research”.

“One-on-one companion visit kits for dementia residents in a continuing care facility” student team

This team won a grant to implement and assess their one-on-one companion visit kits for dementia residents in a continuing care facility. The team includes three Human Development juniors Shelbie Turner, Lauren Byrd, and Katherine Eastham; senior Suh Yang (Psychology and Biology) and Anne Brown, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry.

Agroforestry club & Hale-Y Community Garden Food Forest student team

This team won for their proposal to provide a workshop through the Argoforestry club and Hale-Y Community Garden Food Forest.This is an interdisciplinary team with three students from Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation: Catherine Bukowski, Pulelehua Kimball, Steven Kruger, as well as Samuel Barnes (civil engineering), Gabe Pent (crop and soil environmental sciences), and Keith O’Herrin (Urban Forestry.)

Nina Miller, a sophomore in Agribusiness, designed a project to revitalize a community garden that grows produce to donate to the Giving Tree Food Pantry.

Tana M. Schiewer, who is pursuing her degree in Rhetoric & Writing, used her grant to create a workshop for staff at nonprofits to help them create compelling communication messages.

All questions can be directed to Jason Clayton at engage@vt.edu or 540-231-7042.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, welcome! For requests related to submitting this application, please contact Jason during regular business hours.

If you anticipate needing accommodations during the program period, we are glad to discuss any needs before or after your application is submitted. Our goal is to remove whatever barriers possible for grantees to be able to fully participate in the program.