Three student organizers, Dan Belhumeur, Ken Bagstad, and Nikola Janjić, conducted background research, polled students in a campus-wide survey, and developed a comprehensive proposal for a Clean Energy Fund. The students gained support from the Student Government Association, the Graduate Student Senate, and the Faculty Senate. In May 2008, the University's Board of Trustees voted to establish the fund and raise the student fee by $10 per student per semester.
The CEF was established to advance renewable energy infrastructure on campus, and foster clean energy research and academics. Since its inception, the fund has invested in university energy-related projects and programs, and has supported a broad array of events and programs across the university. The campus’ continued investment in solar has been a direct result of the fund, and the educational programming the fund spurred has been both informative and effective in building student interest in clean energy.
The priority for the CEF is to support renewable energy development by investing in projects that displace fossil fuel energy use by the campus. Preparing for and making the necessary changes to campus to transition away from fossil fuels engage the three aspects of sustainability: social, ecological, and economic.
The CEF is managed by the Vice President of Finance and the Office of the University Controller. The fund is administered through the Socially Responsible Investing Advisory Council.