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UMass Amherst Libraries

Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award

Details on the current year's award requirements and timeline

2022-2023 Award Description

The Undergraduate Sustainability Research Award promotes in-depth understanding of sustainability topics,
research strategies, and the use of library resources, providing participating students with vital skills they will carry into future academic and vocational endeavors.  The award is funded by the award-winning UMass Amherst Libraries’ Sustainability Fund. decorative images representing sustainability

 

We are accepting two types of submissions this year:

Option 1: Previous academic work related to sustainability done during Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023 semesters and while an undergraduate student at UMass Amherst. This academic work can be in any format (paper, poster, presentation, art, video, etc.).

Option 2: An original research project conducted during Summer 2022, Fall 2022, or Spring 2023 and while an undergraduate student at UMass Amherst. This project needs to be supported by facts (which are cited), but does not need to be tied to a class. It can be in any format (paper, poster, presentation, art, video, etc.).

For both options, on the submission form, you will be asked to include:

  • A context statement describing why you chose the topic or focus area of your submission and how it relates to sustainability. Art submissions can include your artists' statement. (maximum 300 words)
  • How you used campus and library resources.
  • Statement of support from a UMass Amherst faculty member who knows your work (does not have to be the instructor of the course for previous work). 

If submitting previous work, you will be prompted for the class it was for and the assignment.

Five (5) scholarships of $800 will be awarded. 

Group Submissions: If you are submitting a group project, only one member of the group should submit an entry, but ALL group members need to be current UMass undergraduate students (no graduate students or faculty can be part of the group). The submission form will have space to list other group members. If selected as one of the winning entries, group members will split the $800 scholarship. 

To learn more about sustainability efforts at UMass check out these links:

Timeline

February 6, 2023 - Open for submissions (Beginning of Spring Semester)

March 10, 2023 - Application materials due by 11:55 p.m. (No late submissions accepted.)

March 24, 2023 - Deadline for notification of awards.

April 20, 2023 - Evening reception at the Science & Engineering Library to recognize and celebrate award winners. 

Eligibility

  • Be a full- or part-time UMass Amherst undergraduate enrolled in any discipline and at any level.
    • If you are in a 4+1 program, you are eligible while you are in the first 4 years. 
  • Diversity of age, ability, race, religion, gender, social class, educational background is welcome.
  • If awarded, agree to add your submission to ScholarWorks, the UMass Amherst digital showcase (with a Creative Commons license of your choosing)

  • If awarded, attend library event the evening of April 20, 2023 at the Science & Engineering Library (time TBD). 

Submission Details

The submission form will accept applications from February 6, 2023 until 11:55 p.m. March 10, 2023.

The submission form requires:

  • Name, UMass email, and SPIRE id for the submitter and if a group entry, for each member of the group. 
  • A context statement describing why you chose the topic or focus area of your submission and how it relates to sustainability. Art submissions can include your artists' statement. (maximum 300 words)
  • How you used campus and library resources.
  • Statement of support from a UMass Amherst faculty member who knows your work (does not have to be the instructor of the course for previous work).
  • For previous academic work, the class name, course number, and assignment.
  • A file upload of your essay or project. (You will only be allowed to upload 1 file. We acknowledge that many courses have multiple assignments that build upon each other, but please choose only one of those assignments to submit.)

Link to Submission Form will be available beginning Feburary 6, 2023. (You will need to be logged into your UMass Amherst Google account to access the submission form.)

Review Process

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of librarians and staff from the Science & Engineering Library.

Submissions will be evaluated on:

  • Substantive Topic
    • Potential for sustainability change or broader sustainability awareness/appreciation (environmental, social, and/or economic).
    • Broad scope (geographic or in aspect of sustainability work) or in-depth analysis score highest.
  • Research Strategy
    • Research methodology
      • UMass Libraries/other resources searched
      • keywords used or other search strategies
      • use of sources to find other sources
    • Depth and breadth of sources
      • All academic? All from single journal/NGO?
      • Direct quotes only? Or supporting ideas behind other arguments, too?
    • Consult context statement
  • Attribution of Sources
    • Consistent formatting throughout with in-text notation (superscript, author-date, etc.) and complete reference list or footnotes/endnotes.
    • Quotes, paraphrasing, and credit for others' original ideas all clearly attributed.
    • Sources include all information needed for reviewers to track down full text.
    • Applicants should declare the citation style they are using.
      • No points lost for minutia of punctuation, as long as overall style is consistent.
  • Effectiveness of Communication 
    • Compelling narrative or imagery, writing is coherent/imagery conveys the meaning intended (compare to context statement from submission form), facts are conveyed to support the argument/emotions evoked as intended.
    • Disregard minor grammatical mistakes.
  • Overall Impression