Symposium Fund

The Five College Symposium Fund annually supports larger-scale cross-campus initiatives such as symposia, conferences, and residencies.

Most Symposium Fund events will involve a day-long or multi-day gathering of both Five College faculty experts and visiting experts critically engaging around a central, clearly defined topic. In some cases, events may be centered around the work of a single distinguished guest, but they should still feature formal opportunities for engagement with Five College faculty members. Many will also include complementary elements such as class visits, public lectures, lunches with students, or presentations at faculty seminars.

All proposals must demonstrate a high degree of cross-campus collaboration and benefit. Applicants should take advantage of the wealth of resources at the five institutions and their surrounding communities and build on them to create new connections and opportunities. In accordance with the Statement on Racial Equity & Justice at Five Colleges, Incorporated, events that seek to promote racial equity through their structure and/or content are particularly welcome and may receive special consideration.

Note: The Lecture Fund supports smaller-scale cross-campus initiatives.

Symposium Fund

Events must include components that are free and open to the public.

Five College faculty members must be allowed to participate at no cost.

Established events (e.g., a program’s annual symposium) are eligible for funding, but preference may be given to new initiatives.

The collaborative nature of the event must be demonstrated by meeting at least one of the following criteria:

  • Faculty members from at least 3 campuses are substantively involved in event planning OR
  • Events are sited on at least 3 campuses OR
  • Programming features faculty members from at least 3 campuses (e.g., as speakers) OR
  • Event has received substantial financial/in-kind contributions from at least 3 campuses OR
  • At least 3 campuses are involved in the event through a combination of the above.

  • $2,000-$15,000 per event (typically $2,000-$6,000)
  • Generally no more than 75% of total event budget; rarely up to 100% of total event budget

Proposals that receive higher levels of funding will persuasively demonstrate how they will further Five College collaboration, both during and after the funded events. If you are planning to apply for the maximum ($15,000) amount, your event must meet the following criteria:

  • It must take place during the academic year;
  • It must not be an annual event;
  • It shouldn't have significant outside funding (i.e. grant funding).

An award of that size is rare and will only be given to events that would not be able to happen without the Symposium Fund.

  • In keeping with Five College Consortium policies, funds should not be used to pay for dinner, stipends, or honoraria for participating Five College faculty. 
  • We request that any honorarium payments for international visitors be processed by one of the contributing campuses, to which the funds would be transferred.
  • Please check with Ray Rennard or April Shandor if there are questions about eligible expenses. 
  • Each of the campuses has a minor safety policy designed to protect youth and the campus community. If your program or event will involve under-18 minors, please consult your campus’ specific Minor Safety Policy to determine if your program falls within its scope.  Programs or events within policy scope must comply with the policy requirements to be eligible for FCI funding. Check here for events organized through one of the four colleges. Please direct any questions to the Five College Risk Management Office at For information about UMass’s minor safety policy, check here.

There are two application deadlines each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Upcoming application deadlines are:

  • November 1, 2024 (for events taking place between January 1, 2025 and June 30, 2026)
  • March 1, 2025 (for events taking place between July 1, 2025 and December 31, 2026)

Applications should be sent by email to Submissions must include an application form and a detailed budget as an editable spreadsheet. You may also create your own editable spreadsheet as long as the same information is included.

Please see below for downloadable files:

A smiling man with short hair, blue collared shirt, and blue jacket.


Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs