Campus Sustainability Fund

The Annual Grant and Mini Grant Applications are now closed. Thank you for your wonderful applications and we look forward to seeing your Fall 2022 Mini Grants next semester! Details to come. For questions, help with a proposal, or to set up a meeting with our Campus Sustainability Fund Coordinator, please email Emily Haworth at emilyhaworth@arizona.edu.

About the Campus Sustainability Fund

The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF or Fund) is a program of the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability, established to provide funding support for large- and small-scale sustainability projects that build a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future for the University of Arizona and the Tucson communities. Projects are funded through the Sustainability Fee and are evaluated and selected by the student Campus Sustainability Fund Committee.

At its core, the Fund supports multidisciplinary, sustainability-focused projects that are led by campus community members, including students. The Fund acts as a catalyst for advancing the University’s climate and sustainability goals while building our resilience to the impacts of climate change through innovation and collaboration. The Fund also provides the unique opportunity for students to have a direct impact on campus sustainability and obtain project management experience through envisioning, creating, and leading campus projects.

Mini and Annual Grants 

The Fund offers two types of grant opportunities: Mini Grants and Annual Grants. To learn more about these grant opportunities as well as what the CSF Committee looks for in an application, please watch this video

Mini Grants fund time-sensitive, off-cycle, small-scale projects in both the fall and spring semesters. The minimum allocation for a single Mini Grant project is $250 and the maximum allocation is $5,000. Mini Grant funding must be spent within six (6) months of funding or by the end of the fiscal year in which funding was allocated, whichever is earlier. Approved projects will be allocated funding on a rolling basis. Funding dispersal for approved projects is dependent on how soon the application is submitted and when all parties has signed the official Letter of Agreement. 

The CSF maintains the majority of its budget for Annual Grants. The minimum allocation for an Annual Grant is $5,001 and the maximum allocation is $100,000 and must be spent within a fiscal year. Depending on a project's goal and timeline, Multi-Year funding is available, but such eligibility is at the discretion of the Committee. The Annual Grant application window is open only in the spring semester. Approved projects will be allocated funding in July of that same year and must complete their project by the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. 

Eligible project proposals are diverse and can include projects that focus on waste reduction, energy use, social sustainability, and other efforts that meaningfully advance the University's sustainability goals. 

In addition to funds from the Sustainability Fee, the CSF also has two unique project funding sources. The CSF has ~$7,500 to allocate from the Agnese Nelms Haury Program to projects that focus on social and environmental justice on campus. In addition, a donation of $4,700 from a generous anonymous donor is available to support a Mini Grant. Project applicants may receive award money from these sources, but no additional application is necessary. 

Project Ideas and Proposal Assistance

Writing a proposal and applying for a grant can be daunting, so we want to make each step easier. Meeting with Campus Sustainability Fund Committee members or the Coordinator prior to submitting a project proposal will only make your application stronger or the application process easier. Additionally, please watch this video to learn more about these grant opportunities as well as what the CSF Committee looks for in an application. If you have an idea for a project proposal, but you're not sure if it fits in with the scope of the Fund or if you're looking for suggestions, guidance, or feedback - please attend Virtual Office Hours held by Committee members (they will begin again in Fall 2022 semester), or email the CSF Coordinator at emilyhaworth@arizona.edu to set up a meeting to discuss project ideas. Or, you can submit your project idea here and the Committee will get back to you about your idea via email. 

Application Eligibility

Prospective applicants must be current members of the University community (student, staff, faculty, designated campus colleague, etc.). Students are especially encouraged to apply! Applicants from the University’s Main Campus in Tucson, the Sierra Vista Campus, and the Phoenix campus are all eligible to apply for funding.

Each project proposal requires a primary and secondary project manager as well as a fiscal officer. If the primary project manager is a student who graduates 6 month to a year from the application window, the secondary project manager must be a staff or faculty member OR a student who graduates after the proposed end date of the project. Projects where the primary and secondary project manager are both students require the involvement of a staff or faculty member within the applicable department. 

Application Process

Applications for either Mini or Annual Grants must be completed and submitted to the Campus Sustainability Fund by the designated dates above to be considered for funding. Once the window for completing applications closes, materials will not be accepted or considered.

The application process includes a form requiring written responses, projects contacts, and a budget template that details funding requests and project expenditures. The responses to these questions must be thorough, thoughtful, and accurate. Only project applications that have made the effort to obtain all necessary preliminary information research and contacts will be considered.

Please consider what portions of your application need to be identified in advance. For example, if your project requires a quote from Facilities Management (FM), please allow at least 30 days to receive a quote for relevant work. Request a quote from FM

Mini Grants Review Process

  1. Application submitted
  2. Project is reviewed and evaluated/ scored by Committee members
  3. The preliminary Committee meeting is held to deliberate on the proposal and to identify questions
  4. Applicant is sent questions to respond to via email
  5. Written responses are considered in a second Committee meeting and the official vote is held
  6. Applicant is notified of funding decision

Annual Grants Review Process

  1. Application submitted
  2. Project is reviewed and evaluated/ scored by Committee members
  3. The preliminary Committee meeting is held to deliberate on the proposal and to identify questions
  4. Applicant is contacted to coordinate a short meeting with the Committee for them to ask questions
  5. An official vote is held
  6. Applicant is notified of funding decision

How Are Projects Selected?

Project applications are reviewed by the Committee, evaluated using a set rubric, and deliberated on during Committee-only meetings. The Committee’s decision to fund or not fund a project is informed by the overall score of the project combined with the discussion that emerges from the official Committee meetings dedicated to evaluating each project application.

Project Evaluation Criteria

  • Feasibility & Logistics
    • What work has been completed so far to make this project feasible?
    • Have all relevant partners been contacted/ coordinated with?
    • Have the project managers received reasonable quotes for supplies and/or labor?
       
  • Environmental Sustainability Impact
    • How will this project advance environmental sustainability? 
    • How well will this project advance environmental sustainability on campus?
       
  • Social Sustainability Impact
    • How will this project advance social sustainability?
    • How well will this project advance social sustainability on campus? 
       
  • Student Leadership & Involvement
    • How will this project involve students
    • What leadership opportunities exist for students within the project?
       
  • Education, Outreach, & Behavior Change
    • How well might this project communicate its impacts to the campus community? 
    • How well might this project educate the campus community and/or incorporate outreach and behavior change? 
    • How well might this project reach beyond the "sustainability choir?"

All applicants will receive the scored rubrics from each Committee member with feedback regardless of the decision made on the proposal to allow applicants a better understanding of how the Committee’s decision was made. The applicant will also receive a succinct summary of discussion points and other feedback not captured in the evaluation rubrics.

Project Guidelines

  • Projects must directly address the environmental sustainability of the University of Arizona and directly or indirectly benefit students of the University of Arizona
  • Projects should have a comprehensive implementation plan
  • Proposed projects must have a clearly defined, measurable outcome
  • Project proposals based on social sustainability should incorporate environmental sustainability or climate action as a component of implementation, but it does not need to be the project’s focus

Project Preferences

  • Projects that are led or initiated by students and involve student leadership or participation
  • Projects that can obtain matching funds
  • Projects that engage with and directly support underrepresented groups on campus and promote equity

What Will be Funded by CSF?

  • Student employee hourly wages
  • Operations and project supplies that have a valid business purpose in support of the Campus Sustainability Fund and the University of Arizona
    • This may include labor expenses associated with a project
  • Capital equipment between $5,000 and $100,000 in value
  • Travel expenses 
  • Events including speaker fees should they not be able to be funded elsewhere

What Will Not be Funded by CSF?

  • For-sale food, drinks, or merchandise as part of a project budget
  • Reimbursement requests of any kind
  • Student stipends (with the exception of graduate assistant stipends)
  • Research without application or an applied solution to campus sustainability challenges
  • Student fees or tuition (with the exception of graduate student tuition remission)
  • Projects that could be easily funded through other funding sources that are available to students and campus community members
  • Projects smaller than $250 and over $100,000

Approved Project Requirements

CSF grants are not transactional, but instead encourage ongoing communication and collaboration to ensure project success. 

Approved projects are required to submit Progress Reports on a quarterly basis. Progress Reports will be completed by the Project Managers in March, May, August, and December unless funding is awarded after one of these deadlines or the project ends prior to a deadline, in the case of Mini Grants. These Progress Reports allow the Committee to track the progression of the approved projects and to ensure they are meeting requirements and advancing along.

The Quarterly Progress Report submitted in August will be considered the Final Progress Report and will provide a final record of total expenditures, unused funds, and more detailed, comprehensive qualitative and quantitative measures of project accomplishments. 

Additionally, each project will also have one or two designated Project Facilitators from the CSF Committee. Project Facilitators will coordinate monthly or as needed meetings with Project Managers and assist them with project coordination and completion and inquire about important milestones, obstacles, or other project updates. 

The Committee

Critical to advancing sustainability projects, the Campus Sustainability Fund Committee will be responsible for reviewing, selecting, and facilitating project proposals as well as supporting the overall mission of the Campus Sustainability Fund. The Committee is comprised of student employees who are hired by the Office of Sustainability, Appointed Committee Members from Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and Graduate Professional Student Council (GPSC), and staff/faculty advisors. Advisors do not vote to approve which projects are funded but provide necessary insight to Committee Members on University policies, processes, and operations as well as give counsel on project selection and implementation.

Bylaws of the Fund 

Bylaws are the official guidance for the CSF regarding structure, management, procedures, and processes. To view them, please open CSF Bylaws 

History of the CSF

The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) was founded in 2021 as the successor program to the University of Arizona Green Fund which operated from 2011 to 2021. The Green Fund, created, energized, and coordinated by students, supported hundreds of projects for over a decade on the University of Arizona campus and in the Tucson community.

Projects are funded through the Sustainability Fee, which was proposed by students and supported by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the Graduate Professional Student Council, and University administration. The Arizona Board of Regents approved this fee in April 2021 and the CSF began allocating money to project applicants in December of 2021.

In the Fall semester of 2021, an Interim Working Group was established to support the creation of the CSF. The Interim Working Group consisted of University of Arizona students who volunteered their time. Of the group, none were Office of Sustainability employees and some were members of Students for Sustainability. Their role was to assist in the creation of the new CSF structure, practices, operations, and bylaws. Their feedback, input, and experiences as well as the previous Green Fund operations largely informed the functions and structure of the CSF.

Separate from this group, the Interim Funding Committee solely consisted of Office of Sustainability student employees who were compensated for their time in reviewing, deliberating, and voting on Mini Grant proposals received from October 18, 2021 to November 22, 2021 during the Fall 2021 Mini Grant Proposal opportunity. Their unbiased evaluations and selections allocated funding during the transitional period of the Fund. This Interim Funding Committee was dissolved after December 16, 2021 as the new, permanent CSF Committee was finalized. The Mini Grant projects selected by the Interim Funding Committee are now supported by the new CSF Committee members.

Supporting the Campus Sustainability Fund

Are you interested in supporting sustainability projects on campus? Donate here or please contact Trevor Ledbetter, Director for the Office of Sustainability, at tledbetter@arizona.edu, or call 520-621-1760.