Multicultural Resource Center

Oberlin College Funding Sources

There are a tremendous number of resources available at Oberlin College.

We have taken the time to highlight some of them here for your convenience. If you know of additional resources that should be recognized here, please contact us by sending email to

The MRC offers funding for a variety of events and programs on campus. To be eligible for these funds, you must be a member of an active student organization. Complete the form below to apply:

Please read the directions carefully before filling out the form; if you have any questions about the information that is needed, please contact us at

Co-sponsorship requests must be submitted by Monday two weeks in advance of the event.

Funding awards are capped at $300 due to the volume of requests. Funding awards range from $50-$100 on average.

John Mercer Langston Black Alumni Student Emergency Fund

This fund is a source of financial assistance for currently enrolled Oberlin College students to provide support to students in crisis situations that involve medical emergencies or an unforeseen crisis in the immediate family. Academic expenses are not generally considered. To apply for this fund, click here.

Emergency Book Fund

Established by the Class of 2000, the fund provides loans to Oberlin College students to purchase books and supplies.  To apply, submit this form

Emergency Student Loan

Established through the Class of 1995 gift project, this fund provides no-interest loans for low-income students who have exhausted all other options for paying their term bill. Students may apply for a loan once each semester as needed, but they must repay it by the end of that term; any student defaulting on the loan payment will be ineligible for future loans. At the time they apply for loans, students must present a plan for repayment. Recipients are expected to pay back the loans only when they are financially able. Students may receive a loan for either semester during the academic year, and are eligible to receive more than one award. Loans are accessible to all students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.

To apply, submit this form

*All of these funds are administered through the Office of the Dean of Students, Wilder Hall, Room 105.

The Andy Cemelli '85 Student Research Grant, awarded in memory of Mr. Cemelli, provides up to $500 to support a proposed research project, performance, or acquire training in an area related to the experience or accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and/or transgender people. The award could be used for travel to research sites, acquisition of reference sources, conference travel, performance production, etc. The prize is funded by the Oberlin Lambda Alumni and may be used during summer 2018, or fall term of 2018-2019. The successful candidate must agree to produce some product (paper, performance, conference presentation, etc.) that relates to what has been learned or accomplished. Non-graduating recipients will present their work at the Oberlin Lambda Alumni meeting the following fall. 

For full consideration of the Cemelli Grant, candidates must submit the following: 

A. This completed form
B. A copy of your current resume 
C. A description of the research project, which must respond to the following questions:

1. Summarize the ongoing or future project you are submitting for consideration.  Be specific about the circumstances of the project--whether or not it will count toward an academic course or honors project or artistic performance or exhibition. Your project does NOT have to count for credit. 

2. Will your research/training be conducted? What is the timeline/frame you estimate for doing your research?

3. What are your intentions, goals, methodology, and/or research design for the work you need to accomplish? 

4. What existing research has inspired and/or supported your work? You should include a list of references (at least 2 or 3), formatted according to a specific style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago).

5. What will you produce as a result of your research? For example, if you are going to be getting training at a workshop, will you produce a working manual for yourself or others? (i.e. How to conduct an issues campaign? Best practices for media outreach.)  

6. What is your budget estimate? How did you arrive at your budget estimate? Specify your costs: Phone? Transportation? Photocopying? Hotel? Meals? Tapes? Final Book covers? Paid help?  What are other sources likely to help support your project? Will you likely be able to secure other funding if you only are partially funded? Up to $500 can be awarded for the research grant.

Application materials must be submitted via the online form below by Monday, April 30th.  If you have any questions, please contact the MRC at 440-775-8802, or visit us in person at 187 North Professor Street.

Click here to fill out the Andy Cemelli '85 Student Research Grant Application. The committee uses this rubric to judge and score each application.

What is the Norm Robertson Student Prize?
This cash prize of $250 is intended to recognize and spotlight students who have completed outstanding projects of either scholarly research or artistic production/performance that advance communal awareness of issues related to the history, experience, or accomplishments of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Non-Binary, Queer and Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual and Aromantic persons.

What if my project is non-textual?
Film, audio, photography, and/or other visual work can be submitted as well as written work. If you have questions about the form of your submission, contact one of the Robertson Prize committee members listed below.

Who sponsors the prize?
The Robertson Prize is co-sponsored by the Oberlin Lambda Alumni (OLA) and the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). The MRC oversees the awarding of the prize.

Who was Norm Robertson?
The Prize is named after Norm Robertson ‘81, one of the original co-founders of the LGBT alumni group (now OLA). Norm Campbell Robertson enrolled at Oberlin College in the fall of 1975 with the intent of following in pre-med course of study. He realized that he didn’t want to become a doctor and when he graduated in the spring of 1981, he did so as a Religion major who had spent all of his extra time in the Conservatory. Although he had studied the violin seriously in high school and had never intended to become a professional violinist, at Oberlin he came in contact for the first time with Early Music. He was a member of the Collegium Musicum and studied baroque violin and viola. When he moved to Chicago, he was one of the first members of City Musick, a short-lived but distinguished baroque orchestra. His partner was also a well-known keyboard instrumentalist and soloist. 

Oberlin professors who knew Norm remember him as a talented student and a gentle, generous person. One remembers how trusting Norm was and how he inspired trust at in others. While at college, Norm had worked hard to reconcile his sexuality with his deeply felt convictions as a Catholic. After graduation, he put his convictions into practice and worked for several years in a parish in Baton Rouge, LA, as a director of Christian education. Norm died of AIDS in 1992. The Robertson prize and the work for which the prize is awarded stands as a testimony to Norm, to his place in the Oberlin community, and to the place of all queer and trans students at Oberlin.

Why sponsor a prize in LGBT studies?
The prize is intended to encourage and celebrate students who undertake projects that deal with issues related to LGBT people. Until OLA and the now-defunct General Faculty Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Concerns Committee (LGBTCC)  created the Queer Studies Student Research Grant (the Cemelli Grant) in 1995, students often carried out this work with little hope of positive recognition or support. Such work often required unusual creativity, because Queer Studies was still a new, albeit rapidly growing, cluster of fields. Working in these subject areas still may require exceptional effort to find materials or develop methods. It also requires courage to negotiate the risks that may arise from having one's name linked with subjects that may be viewed in some quarters as faddish, immoral, or a threat to social order.

Such work, however, has been and continues to be vital in creating a positive context for curricular and social change on our campus. Every student who chooses to research an LGBTQQIA-related topic increases campus awareness of gender and sexuality issues, and adds to the growing recognition of the importance of the role that LGBTQQIA persons play in our society, past and present.

Presentation Requirement
The Robertson Prize recipient will be honored at Lavender Celebration during Commencement/Reunion Weekend, sponsored by OLA, which provides the recipient with an opportunity to describe their work for the community and thus add to communal knowledge of these issues. OLA members are very interested in hearing about student work on LGBTQQIA issues; the prize winner may wish to have copies of an abstract or project summary on hand for those alums who may have follow-up questions (be sure to include your contact info on your handout, as this is an excellent networking opportunity).

What criteria will be used for judging the prize applications?
The projects will be evaluated based on (a) the significance of the topic, both within its specific field and to the understanding of sexuality in general; (b) the quality of the work; and (c) the significance of the project to the Oberlin community.

Where can I get ideas or advice for my academic or artistic project related to LGBT issues?
Start by talking to any of the members of the Norm Robertson Student Prize committee. They are:

For more ideas, feel free to contact the MRC at

How and when should I apply?
Applications, including a copy of the project, should be submitted via the online application, linked below. All graduating applicants should be prepared to attend the Lavender Celebration if their project is chosen as the prize winner. The final application deadline is Monday, April 29th, 2019 at 11:59pm. The committee will meet that week, and winners will be notified no later than Friday, May 10th, 2019. 

Click here for the Norm Robertson Student Prize Application. The committee will be scoring and judging submissions using the following rubric