The Black Laurentian Initiative Fund for Racial Justice and Equity Project (RJEP)

The Black Laurentian Initiative Fund for Racial Justice and Equity Project (RJEP) is a $100,000 fund from the President’s Office that supports work that engages the St. Lawrence community in research, teaching, and service-focused missions dedicated to addressing the issues of racial injustice in various academic disciplines. This fund supports eligible student projects of up to $3,000 to be implemented during the academic year 2021 - 2022. This fund will also support eligible projects of up to $5000 for Summer 2022. 

Students who are taking classes during Spring 2022 are eligible to apply for funding for Spring projects. To apply, students must complete these components: a proposal essay, budget, positionality statement, and a plan for formally presenting your results to the BLI and to the broader community when they return to campus in the Fall semester. A letter of support from project mentor is also required; applicants are strongly advised to begin discussing your project with your mentors well in advance of the submission deadline, and mentors are urged to indicate that you have discussed plans for your project with them in detail.


Proposal essay

Students, with guidance from a faculty mentor, are eligible to receive up to $3000 to support projects for Spring 2022 (e.g., research, internships, or creative projects). Submit a written essay of up to 500 words (approx. 1 page) that includes: 

  • Project goals and objectives 
  • How your project will contribute to greater understanding of racial justice and equity, including racism, systemic racism and racial injustice, for yourself and for the SLU community  
  • Activities you propose to undertake 
  • Expected project outcomes 
  • Plan for working with your faculty mentor (indicate that you have had conversations with your mentor well in advance of submitting essay) 

     Mentor's letter of support must be submitted separately by project deadline of January 10th, 2022.

Budget: You must also submit a project budget (up to 1 page) that outlines project costs of up to $3000. Examples of eligible costs include:

  • Project materials/supplies 
  • Costs of housing/food (if travel away from campus is necessary)
  • Stipend representing time spent on the project
  • Transportation 
  • Other necessary expenses

Positionality Statement: Students must provide a written positionality statement of up to 200 words as context for your proposed project. A positionality statement usually includes a description of the project leader’s lenses (e.g., philosophical, personal, theoretical beliefs and perspective through which they view the research process) and potential influences on the research/proposed project (e.g., age, political beliefs, social class, race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs).

Plan for presentation: A formal presentation of projects and results to the BLI and the greater SLU community is required of all grant recipients. Recipients are asked to demonstrate how their project contributes to a deepening understanding of racial injustice and equity issues. Submit a brief description (about a paragraph) of your plan for this presentation.


Submit applications via this form:

Mentors should submit their letters of support via this link:

The deadline for submission of projects for Summer 2022 will be announced in February 2022. 

If you’re interested, please start thinking about and having conversations with your advisors and mentors, and come to the Q&A session: 

Q&A SESSION: Thursday January 6th, 2022, 12:00-12:45 PM (zoom link:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the deadline for the next submission cycle? 

The deadline for Spring 2022 proposal submissions is January 10th, 2022, at 11:59 pm Eastern. The deadline for Summer 2022 submissions will be announced in February 2022.


2. Where do I go if I have questions about the process or the proposal? 

The BLI RJEP Grant Committee will be hosting a Q&A session on the following date:  

            Thursday January 6th, 2022, 12:00-12:45 PM (zoom link
You can also feel free to email any member of the committee: 
  • Diamond McAllister, BLI President ( 
  • Penda Sarr, BLI Vice President ( 
  • Kimberly Flint-Hamilton, Associate Dean for Diversity & Inclusion ( 
  • Carol Smith, Grants Senior Officer ( 
  • Ana Estevez, Professor of Biology and Psychology (


3. How do I submit my proposal? 

Proposals should be submitted electronically via using the link posted above and copied here: (live from Dec. 20, 2021 through Jan. 10, 2022)

4. What is the role of the mentor in the project? 

Although the project is the student’s idea, the student must have conversations with their mentor as they write their proposal. It is important that the mentor be able to indicate, in their letter of support to the grant committee, that the project is feasible, that the student has the skill and experience necessary to complete the project, and that the mentor also has the expertise to mentor the student in the project that is being proposed.  

Mentors should submit their letters via this link:

5. Do I have to get Institutional Review Board Approval?  

Federal law requires that, under certain circumstances, research involving human subjects must be approved by institutional review boards (IRBs). Work with your mentor and the chair of St. Lawrence’s IRB committee to determine if your project requires approval. If it does, you will have to submit a proposal to the IRB committee for approval, and you will have to complete an online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course.