Building Belonging Program
The Building Belonging program at UC Santa Cruz is designed to foster student success, increase engagement, and build a greater sense of belonging for under-represented undergraduate students through faculty mentored service-learning and research projects.
The program is offered through the Institute for Social Transformation in the Division of Social Sciences. The institute awards up to 100 Building Belonging undergraduate scholarships each academic year. Faculty apply to the program, and if selected, can choose to mentor up to 4 students per academic year. Student fellows receive $1500 per quarter and are expected to contribute approximately 100 hours per quarter to the project. Making these opportunities paid rather than volunteer opens them up to students with limited financial means.
Since the program launched in 2020, we have awarded over 340 student scholarships–totalling more than $500,000 going directly to students–and supported over 120 faculty research projects.
- Meet the student fellows and faculty mentors in the program
- Watch the 2023 Building Belonging Student Showcase presentations
- Read testimonials from Building Belonging students
The Building Belonging program was developed to enable and expand engagement between students and faculty, and also give students a firmer sense of belonging and acceptance at a research university. We thank the generous donors who fund this program.
This program is open to all Social Sciences faculty and lecturers. Faculty apply to the program, and if selected, will choose students for their research projects. By applying to this program, faculty agree to mentor undergraduate students on a research project or a community-engaged scholarly project. Faculty may apply to mentor up to 4 student-quarters per academic year maximum. The students can work individually with faculty or as part of a group. Faculty are expected to meet regularly with the student researchers. If faculty need help identifying students they can work with the institute and the EOP office.
The program aims to support undergraduate students in Social Sciences who are:
- EOP eligible
- low income
- former foster youth
As the goal is to build a sense of belonging among current students, participating students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits at UCSC for the term requested (except summer). Students can not participate in the program post-graduation. We encourage faculty members to recruit students who are not in their final year for these mentoring opportunities.
Please note that if the proposed research project is connected or related to a class or independent study where students receive credit, the research must be separate and distinct from the class work. In other words, students cannot receive a Building Belonging scholarship payment for work where they are also receiving course credit.
All student fellows will be required to participate in the Building Belonging Research Symposium in the spring (summer fellows can participate the following year).
2023-2024 Application Timeline
Faculty apply to the program, and if selected, will choose students for their research projects.
Faculty applications are due September 1, 2023 (decisions will be announced in mid September).
- For fall quarter scholarships, student names and IDs must be provided by faculty to IST by September 23, 2023
- For winter quarter scholarships, student names and IDs must be provided by faculty to IST by December 15, 2023
- For spring quarter scholarships, student names and IDs’ must be provided by faculty to IST by March 22, 2024
- For summer quarter scholarships, student names and IDs’ must be provided by faculty to IST by June 13, 2024
All students selected for the program will be required to participate in a research symposium in May (summer students can participate the following year).
Students selected for the program will receive a $1500 scholarship award per quarter and are expected to contribute approximately 100 hours per quarter to the project. In the application, faculty will need to indicate in which quarter the research will be conducted. Student scholarship awards will be processed by the institute and disbursed as a scholarship to the student’s financial aid account per quarter awarded. Please note that these are not posted as jobs in the Handshake System. The award will be incorporated into the student’s financial aid offer and the amount received as a payment/refund will depend on each student’s specific financial situation, including any unpaid university fees and other awards or aid they may have. If students have questions about this they can contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office or click here for frequently asked questions about scholarship payments.
Please contact the Institute for Social Transformation with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.