New program provides grants to Tufts students for summer projects that address effects of COVID-19

Tisch College program available to students across the university to encourage civic engagement in fight against pandemic; Tufts alumni to serve as volunteer mentors
An array of pins that read "20 years of Tisch College" are on a brown table
Tisch College of Civic Life is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. (Credit: Ryan McBride for Tufts University)
May 12, 2020

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Jen McAndrew

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLEMass. (May 12, 2020)—Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life has launched a new program to support students looking to help in the response to the COVID-19 crisis this summer. The Tisch Student COVID Response (TSCR) Summer Program will provide grants of up to $3,000 each for students to innovate, self-design or work with an existing project that addresses the impacts of COVID-19.

Students may address needs in their hometown community or beyond. All work must be done remotely, and projects must directly address an issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants will be awarded to support the purchase of materials, supplies and any other resources required for the successful implementation of the projects.

TSCR applications are open now, and will be reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis until funds are expended.

Projects can start as soon as May 12 or at anytime throughout the summer.  Students can work independently, as a group and/or with a partner organization. All currently enrolled Tufts students are eligible.

 More information about the program, including the application, is available here.

The grant program was proposed by undergraduate student Alex Lein, a student in the class of 2021 who has been closely involved in its development, and will serve as the program’s student coordinator.

“The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and taken a disproportionate toll on those who were already marginalized, and I’ve been inspired by the ways various communities and peers have come together. People who have never met before are supporting one another in unprecedented ways, and the Tufts community has been no exception,” said Lein. “I know students have been thinking about ways to address the crisis, even if many of their efforts have been hampered by social distancing, precautionary measures, and lack of available funding. Already I have been blown away by what I’ve seen from the Tufts community in response to this idea: Tisch College leadership was immediately receptive, and students from every school have already expressed interest. I’m looking forward to working with students and seeing what they choose to do with this opportunity."

In addition to the funding, Tisch College staff will connect students to projects if needed, provide weekly office hours to answer questions, facilitate several group meetings for all stipend recipients and pair students with a Tufts alumni mentor to support their work, if they desire.

“The response from students has been immediate,” said Mindy Nierenberg, senior director of programs at Tisch College, who is spearheading the program. “We are looking forward to supporting their innovative ideas while responding to the needs of communities. Providing Tufts alumni support will add an important dimension of expertise to this work while building new relationships between students, alumni and partners to better serve communities during this challenging time.”

"Young people are leading—at Tufts and around the world. They are the source of so many innovative ideas in our communities, including in times of crisis, and we need their energy and civic engagement now more than ever. This idea came from a student, and we are proud to develop it with students and support dozens of students form across the University this summer,” said Alan Solomont, dean of Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life.

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About Tufts University

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.