Expedition Grants


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Expedition Grants for IAP 2015

As Expedition Grants are sponsored by the Underclassmen Giving Campaign, we are putting the final choices in the hands of underclassmen, who can vote for the best project during the Campaign!

We are currently soliciting applications for projects to be implemented over IAP 2015. Expedition Grants, open to all continuing MIT freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, enable students to learn about a community while digging-in to help address a local challenge or opportunity. These grants are intended for service projects that are exploratory in nature, and we hope that this initial service work sets the groundwork for future projects.

Projects can be undertaken in the US or abroad. We encourage students to explore issues they care about in their hometowns or other locations where they have personal connections or where they can tap in to support resources. Wherever you work, safety is a priority. We follow MIT’s Travel Risk Policy and travel risk advisories MIT Advisory list, and need to see that students have appropriate safety precautions in place for any site.

Timeline for IAP 2015 Applications

Tuesday, September 30, 9 - 11 am and 2 - 4 pm: Office hours in for interested applicants. Get feedback on your ideas and answers to your questions. Room 4-104.

Wednesday, October 8, 8 am: Application deadline

  • Submit your 3-4 page application via email to AND
  • Bring a hard copy to the PSC, along with a note indicating your availability for an interview on Friday, October 10 or Tuesday, October 14. Interview slots are first-come, first-served.

Friday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 14: Interviews

Wednesday, October 15: Finalists notified

by Friday, October 17: Finalists will record a two-minute video in the MIT Annual Fund office describing their proposed project.

Week of October 27: Showcase and voting! Finalists will showcase their plans in Memorial Lobby (Lobby 10) with pitches and posters.

Finalists must be available from 11:30 - 2:30 on Monday, October 27, to present their intended project to their peers in Memorial Lobby. (If this time presents a problem, let us know.) Donors to the Underclassmen Giving Campaign will get the chance to vote for their favorite finalists.

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How to Apply

PSC Expedition Grants are open to all continuing MIT freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. 

Application Checklist: We need a complete application in order to consider you for support, so please ensure we receive all of the following materials (see guidelines below):

By October 8, at 8:00 am:

  • Cover page
  • A two-page project description
  • A one-page safety and cultural impact statement
  • A budget
  • Poster content
  • A headshot photo of yourself

By October 15th, 9:00am EST at the latest:

  • A letter of commitment from your community partner. Your community partner should send this directly to the PSC, details below.

Cover Page

Must include:

  • Your name
  • MIT ID
  • Year
  • Phone where we can reach you
  • Email
  • Term Address
  • Permanent Address
  • If you are working in a group, list the other members
  • Total amount requested
  • One-paragraph abstract

Project Description
(~2 pages)

  • Give us the details, emphasizing what service you plan to provide, to whom, and how.  Be specific: we’re looking for a thoughtful, realistic plan and timeline.
  • Tell us what preparation you’ve done or are planning to do.  What connections do you have in the community? How can you function effectively there?  What will you do ahead of time to make the work a success?
  • Explain what you bring in terms of knowledge, skills, experience, ingenuity, etc.
  • What’s your motivation? Why this location and this plan? What do you hope to learn?
  • If you are working as part of a group or team, what will be your individual contribution?
  • How do you plan on being involved with this work or with this community after this experience?

Safety and cultural impact statement
(~1 page)

Outline your safety considerations for the project. What are the main safety issues where you will be working? What steps will you take to prioritize your safety and what resources have you identified to help you stay safe? Does your project have any safety implications for the community you are serving and (if so) how will you address these?

Help us to understand how the cultural and social context will affect your project. How might you prepare yourself for working in the cultural context relevant to the project you are applying for? Tell us about any experience you have living and/or working in relatively unfamiliar contexts or cultures. If you are working in your hometown, you may still be dealing with communities that are unfamiliar to you. And, grappling with social justice issues in your home community can be uncomfortable.


  • Include estimates for all amounts needed. Expedition Grants can provide up to $5,000 in funding.
  • List any other funding sources, actual and pending

Content for Poster
(must be sent to by the October 8 deadline for your application to be considered complete!)

  • Concise, snappy title of proposed project (10 words max)
  • Location of proposed project
  • Goal of proposed project (50 words max)
  • How a PSC Expedition Grant will help the execution of your strategy (50 words max)
  • 3-4 images (photos, illustrations, charts, map, etc.) that are relevant to the proposed project

Digital Headshot of Yourself (must be sent to by the October 8 deadline for your application to be considered complete!)

  • We want your peers to know who you are! Your headshot will be featured on the Underclassmen Giving Campaign website and on the Campaign's poster.

Community Partner Letter of Support

We need someone in the community or organization you will be working with to send an email or letter confirming that your proposed project is a good match for local community needs and that they will support your work and personal wellbeing. This community partner could be a staff member at a formal organization you will be working with, an individual who is working at a more grassroots level to address community challenges, or a family member or personal contact in the community who understands local needs and will help you to explore them.

Please send your community partner the guidelines below and ask them to submit their letter by email (the preferred method) to or fax 617 258 9357 by 9:00 am EST on October 15 at the latest, and ideally by October 8.


Guidelines for community partners:
Thank you for writing a letter of support for an Expedition Grant proposal. Expedition Grants are awarded to MIT undergraduates so they can learn about a community while working to help address a local challenge or opportunity. Please discuss the project with the student before committing to supporting their work.
Your letter should include the following basic information:

  • Student’s name
  • Name of the organization or community you represent
  • Your position in the organization or community
  • Your phone number and email address

Please describe:

  • The student’s proposed project and its usefulness to your organization or community.
  • Ways that you can help the student(s) learn about your organization or community and the issues they are hoping to explore.
  • Your commitment to supporting the student with project advice and useful local knowledge where appropriate.

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The Fine Print

By accepting a PSC Expedition Grant, you will be committing to the following:

  • To participate in a poster session to display your intended project on Monday, October 27th, in Memorial Lobby (Lobby 10)
  • To participate in a brief video to summarize your project. This video will be featured on the Underclassmen Giving Campaign website.
  • To participate in our evaluation process
  • To submit a short report explaining what the funding helped you to accomplish
  • To acknowledge the Underclassmen Giving Campaign and MIT Public Service Center as a sponsor

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  • To permit us to publicize your work through our website, print materials, and other publicity
  • To submit photographs and/or video of your Expedition Grant experience by September 10, 2014
  • To complete all required paperwork and orientations prior to beginning your project work and to communicate weekly with PSC staff during the project implementation


Expedition Grants are generously funded by MIT underclassmen through the Underclassmen Giving Campaign.