Background Information

The Sustainable Campus Fund (SCF) supports students’ vision of enhancing a culture of sustainability, innovation, and research on campus. A self-imposed student fee of $10 per student per semester replenishes the fund with about $230,000 annually. The Sustainable Campus Fund has been created to effectively leverage education and solutions across campus to address the pressing sustainability issues of our time and in particular, their relationship to climate change.

The Socially Responsible Investing Advisory Council (SRIAC) is a group with representation from across the university that evaluates proposals for funding. Proposals are also published online for public comment. Proposals that meet the criteria listed in the application are invited to present to SRIAC. SRIAC makes funding recommendations to the Vice President for Finance and Administration who makes the final funding decisions. 

The SRIAC is especially interested in proposals with significant impacts – partly measurable by the numbers of students impacted by proposed projects, but also scalability. For instance, can this idea be a model for other universities or support broader community goals? Check out these resources to gain a stronger understanding of other initiatives on campus, which are all relevant to the Sustainable Campus Fund. Look for ways to support these broader initiatives:

Funding Eligibility

  • Proposals requesting funding for over $120,000 will be subject to additional scrutiny because this amount represents over 50% of the annual SCF balance.
  • The SCF is not to be used for professional development for individuals, course work at other institutions, or food or drink for meetings. Neither is the SCF intended to fund faculty research. Specific, highly relevant faculty research proposals may be considered if the connection to the campus is explicit. 
  • Students, faculty and staff are all welcome to apply. Student proposals require a faculty or staff sponsor as students cannot be direct recipients of SCF awards. Student wages are an eligible use of funds. The proposal budget must include the appropriate fringe/benefit rate if wages are included.
  • Funds are not intended to subsidize University unit budgets. Ideal proposals will be independent of University operating budgets and support projects and initiatives that would not otherwise find funding sources.
  • Multiphase projects (for example, moving from feasibility study to project implementation) will be considered but perpetual funding is not available.
  • Project funds do not expire after a set period but inactive projects or projects with a remaining budget after completion will be closed in consultation with the proposer(s). Overspending of a project budget is the responsibility of the proposer or staff/faculty sponsor if the proposer is a student.

Funding Criteria

The SRI Advisory Council evaluates proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. ALIGNMENT - Proposal demonstrates strong connections to the Sustainable Campus Fund vision of enhancing a culture of sustainability, innovation and research on campus and mission of addressing sustainability challenges that reduce the University’s impact on climate by addressing social equity, ecological health, and economic viability.
  2. IMPACT - Proposal clearly demonstrates the potential for high impact on members of the university community. This can be defined in several ways including student involvement in implementation or as experiential learners in the project. Proposals that demonstrate a clear impact on members of the university community (students in particular) in addition to demonstrating the potential for impact beyond UVM, are especially compelling.
  3. PROPOSAL - Proposal is well written with all parts clearly explained. Proposal shows creativity and originality. The proposal demonstrates a plan for completing the proposed project. Clear evidence of significance and contribution to the field is provided.
  4. BUDGET - Budget is clearly explained and is appropriate for the activities proposed. Cost estimates are realistic and justified. Funding eligibility requirements are met.
  5. TIMELINE & FEASIBILITY - The timeline is feasible, manageable and appropriate for the proposed project, demonstrating clear understanding of the time frame for proposed activities. Achievable project goals and milestones are outlined. If necessary, protocols/approval/trainings have been secured or in the process of being secured.
  6. SUDENT ENGAGEMENT/SUPPORT - Project gives substantial and lasting leadership, skill building, and volunteer opportunities to student(s) involved in the project or there is strong and demonstrated support from the student body.

Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the academic year. Proposers are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Sustainable Funds Coordinator in advance of submission, to receive support on proposal development.

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