Green Funds 2.0: The Nitty-Gritty of Campus Sustainability Fund Management from the Ground Up


prepared by Mieko Ozeki, Katherine Walsh (UC Berkeley), Kevin Ordean (Northern Arizona University), Lilith Wyatt (McGill University), Melody Hartke (North American University), and McKenzie Beverage (University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign) and presented at the AASHE 2012 Conference.

A campus sustainability fund (also called green fund) is money available to campus community members for sustainability projects. Money for the fund may be from student fees, administrative budgets, or alumni donations and funding may be allocated in the form of grants or loans. Currently, there are over 175 green/sustainability funds in North America run by 155 institutions. Our goal as session leaders is to educate our audience beyond the basics of sustainability funds, by adhering to an overall theme of “So you have established a sustainability fund, what next?” We will cover case studies from six well-established sustainability funds and address key differences and patterns in how these funds have evolved in their management and processes. 

Topics covered include: 1) strategies for soliciting sustainability projects; 2) criteria for projects: what can and cannot be funded; 3) project implementation plans and long-term support of projects beyond initial funding; 4) sustainability fund staffing and committee structures; 5) advising project leaders; and 6) and quantifying and reporting the metrics of funded projects.

Session leaders will break the 60–minute session into three 20-minute sections: (1) project solicitation and developing selection criteria with committees and staff; (2) project implementation, advising project leaders, and reporting structures; and (3) long-term integration of the fund and projects with institutional goals and structures. Each 20-minute section will include presentation from the session leaders and Q&A with the audience. The opening question we plan to answer is “What are we trying to accomplish with these funds?” and the concluding question we plan to answer is “What are the broad educational impacts of sustainability funds?” Post session we intend to create a white paper on best practices of managing a sustainability funds that will include case studies. This workshop is part of a series and a follow-up to Green Funds 1.0: Getting a Fund Started.