MCSE 2012 Grant Challenge

What is it?

The MCSE  2012 Grant Challenge will support Middlebury College students who have identified societal problems and seek to develop innovative solutions to help solve those problems. Grants will be awarded to a diverse cohort of students with the objective of supporting their individual growth and agency as they engage communities through innovative social change.


Secondary Goals


  • The grant recipients will model the activities and qualities the MCSE hopes to foster; their profiles (pictures, video, story) will appear on the MCSE website to inspire the involvement of others with projects and ideas.
  • This program will serve as a segue to the MCSE Fellowship Program that will be announced in the fall of 2012.

Who is eligible and how much are the grants?


Middlebury students (first year-senior year) will be eligible to submit grant applications for projects that bring about positive social change in the world. The MCSE team will read and select 5 grant recipients for the summer of 2012. Each grant is $3,000 with the opportunity to win a $2,000 bonus grant.

We seek applications that touch on the most important qualities of a liberal arts student—clear analytical thinking, excellent communications, self-confidence, creativity and initiative.

To be considered, a student (or group of students) must prepare a written description of the project (who, what, where, how) including expected outcomes and prospects for future impact (not to exceed two pages) as well as a budget for the $3,000 grant (budget not to exceed one page). Proposals should include pre-approval of all involved parties and organizations involved in the project. Students must include their own fundraising plan to complement Middlebury’s grant. The two-page proposal and one-page budget should be submitted electronically to the MCSE before or on April 8, 2012. Email applications to: hneuwirth@middlebury.edu

How will the proposals be submitted and judged?


After the submission deadline, the MCSE will read grants and select the top five winning projects. Those students will be required to participate in a project pitch competition to win a $2,000 bonus grant. The students will present to a panel of judges on the evening of Friday, April 13.

How will the grants be awarded?

The intention is to fund five projects this summer. One project will receive $5,000 in funding with four other projects receiving $3,000. Grants are made upon assurance that the project proposed will, in fact, be undertaken during the summer of 2012.

Questions for students to answer:

What differentiates you from others who may be applying for this grant in terms of your skills and talents?

How will you translate those skills and talents into a project related to improving the lives for those living in your community?

How will you draw on the expertise of professors, staff, and your fellow students at Middlebury, or in the community, to develop a project that is both practical and can be implemented within the budget. How will you fundraise and how much will you fundraise?


Friday, March 16—announcement of Challenge

Friday, April 6—Mlab open to grant applicants for visit with MCSE team

Sunday, April 8—Applications due

Monday, April 9—MCSE team chooses 5 students (or groups) to receive funding and grant recipients announced. Project funding agreements signed by student proposers. Grant payments made after agreements received by MCSE.

Tuesday, April 10—Grant Recipients Announced

Friday, April 13, 2:30-4:30—5 grant recipients participate in SE Challenge Pitch for the Bonus Grant ($2,000)

Summer 2012—Projects completed

September 2012—Final reports and presentations due to MCSE.


What is required for each project’s final report?

Each funded project must submit a final report to the MCSE. It will contain 5 pages of narrative using the final report form on the MCSE website. It also includes a separate one-page accounting of the funds expended. Students must include a 3-5 minute video and 3 digital photos, attaching them to the end of their two-page final report. Reports will be posted on the program’s website.