The ACUI Research and Education Grant awards up to $1,500 towards research-based projects that increase the knowledge-base of the college union and student activities profession. In addition to the financial support for conducting research, recipients will have the opportunity to be featured in The Bulletin as well as gain recognition of peers by presenting the research at the Annual Conference.

2022 Recipient

Clayton Kolb, Sendy Alcidonis, Steven Feldman, and Denice Velez, all of West Chester University, received the 2022 ACUI Research and Education Grant for their project, “Learning Towards Liberation and Social Justice: A New Model for Social Justice Education.”

The purpose of the research study is to pilot a framework for social justice education that invites undergraduate students to address systems of oppression by developing a liberatory consciousness, engaging in processes that support healing and restoration, and/or participating in collective action. 

Past Recipients
  • 2020: Heidi Lang, University of Wisconsin–Madison

  • 2019: Tara Benson & Victoria Rice, Missouri State University – Perceptions of Transfer Students and the Role of the College Union in Building a Sense of Belonging 

  • 2018: Joe Lattal, Northwestern University – Culture of Equity in Student-Authored Campus Events  

  • 2017: Wendy Denman, Texas A&M University–Commerce – Experiences of Highly Involved Students in Extracurricular Activities 

    2016: Anh Le, University of Nebraska–Lincoln – Beyond Adjustment: A Phenomenological Study of High-Achieving International Students 

  • 2015: Matthew Ducatt, Texas Tech University – A Case Study on the Role of Employment in the College Union on Student Self-Efficacy Development 

  • 2014: Zane Reif, University of North Texas – Building Community through Physical Space: A Visual Ethnography of College Union Utilization by Community College Transfer Students 

  • 2012: Kerry Hodak, The Ohio State University – Campus Engagement for Graduate and Professional Students

Note: No award was given in 2021.


Submission materials must include the following:

  • Name, institution, and contact information for all contributors.
  • One compiled packet—that is no more than 10 double-spaced typed pages (not including references), and that contains no identifying information to ensure an anonymous review—which addresses:
    • Research rationale and brief literature review.
    • Description of the methodology.
    • Justification as to how the project supports the published ACUI research agenda and makes a significant contribution to the profession.
    • Detailed budget showing how the awarded funds will be utilized.
    • Anticipated project timeline.
  • An acknowledgement by the applicant that, if selected:
    • They would be willing to sign and agree to the grant terms of agreement.
    • All funds must be utilized within 18 months.

All materials submitted become the property of ACUI and will not be returned to the applicant.

Nominations are due by December 2.

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The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The submission must:

  • Be the original work of the investigators and not have been reported elsewhere.
  • Demonstrate a quality of writing sufficient that ACUI could publish an article based on the research.
  • Have significance and relevance to college unions, student activities, and/or the ACUI research agenda.
  • Include quality and significant literature cited in support of the research.
  • Have a clearly articulated research design.
  • Identify suitable expected implications of the research.
  • Be feasible to complete according to the details and scope of the proposed budget and timeline.
  • Result in at least one research-focused article, educational session, or other ACUI resource within 18 months of receiving the award.

Researchers may submit more than one project for grant consideration; however, a complete application packet must be submitted for each.


Individuals with ACUI membership are eligible for this award.


Submissions will receive electronic notification confirming receipt of materials. A confidential panel of judges will conduct an anonymous review of the materials to make the selection based on the criteria identified for this specific award. It is the goal that at least one recipient will be chosen per year, but multiple awards may be given depending on quality of submissions at each deadline and funds available. The panel has the option to distribute funds up to the full amount, partial funds, or to choose not to distribute the award at all. The decision of the judges will be final. One physical award will be given to each recipient project, which will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference and in subsequent publications.