Mini and Annual Grants
The Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) offers two types of grant opportunities: Mini Grants and Annual Grants. Eligible project proposals are diverse and can include projects that focus on waste reduction, energy use, social sustainability, and other efforts that meaningfully advance sustainability on campus.
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 will be transferred on a rolling basis and the project must complete their project by the end of the fiscal year, June 30th. Funding dispersal for approved projects is dependent on when the application is submitted and when all parties have 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. Depending on a project's goal and timeline, Multi-Year funding up to three years is available, but such eligibility is at the discretion of the Committee. The Annual Grant application process begins in the fall semester and closes in the spring semester. Approved projects will be allocated funding in June and must complete their project by the end of the next fiscal year, June 30th.
Project Ideas and Proposal Assistance
Writing a proposal and applying for a grant can be daunting, but we are here to help make each step easier for you. Meeting with Campus Sustainability Fund Committee Members or the Coordinator prior to submitting a project proposal will only make your application stronger and the application process easier. Additionally, you may watch this video to learn more about 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, then please attend the Committee’s Virtual Office Hours held by Committee Members or email the CSF Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Receiving authorization on your project or contacting the area of campus that your project will affect or reside in is a critical portion of the application process and is a requirement to ensure that your project could be carried out if funded. Gaining permission does not guarantee that your proposal will be approved and funded by the CSF Committee, but it does ensure that the proposal idea is able to be considered and evaluated in the first place.
Please ensure that you have received the necessary permissions for your project. While not exhaustive, the CSF has put together a Campus Contacts list for recommended people to contact for project permissions.
Any project proposal that alters or makes modifications to campus requires Facilities Management consent and coordination as well as a quote through their online Estimate Request service portal. Please review our Estimate Request Guide for Facilities Management to learn more. The timeline to receive an authorization and quote for the modification can take several weeks to several months from start to finish. Applicants should plan accordingly. The process and management of the quote or service request is the responsibility of the applicant. Projects that require a quote must have one at the time of submitting the Final Application and must be attached as a Support Document.
Application Eligibility and Responsibilities
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. 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 a Project Advisor, either a staff or faculty member within the applicable department, to supervise the project.
All projects require a Fiscal Officer. The Fiscal Officer is a staff member within a Project Manager’s or the project’s department who is responsible for financial transactions and who will support reporting by pulling requested expenses against awarded funding and ensuring that funding is spent within awarded categories. Please coordinate with your department to properly identify an individual who is a designated Fiscal Officer. If awarded, this will be the individual who will help Project Managers access the approved funding.
Please ensure that Project Managers, Project Advisors, and Fiscal Officers listed on your project application have all been asked to be part of your proposal prior to application submission. It is the Project Manager's responsibility to inform and coordinate all contacts for the proposal to ensure that everyone has access to project details and budgetary needs.
How Projects Are Selected
Project applications are reviewed by the CSF Committee, evaluated using a standardized rubric, and deliberated on during Committee 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. In the case of Annual Grants, the responses to the questions asked in the interviews are also considered when selecting projects.
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.
Projects may be “Approved”, “Approved with Stipulations”, or “Not Approved.”
- Projects must directly address the environmental sustainability of the University of Arizona and directly or indirectly benefit students of the University of Arizona
- Meaningful student leadership or engagement must be integrated into each proposal
- Proposals that, in the view of the Committee, inadequately or in a tokenistic manner involve students are likely to be not approved
- 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 these do not need to be the project’s primary focus
- The individual authoring the grant proposal/application must be a Project Manager
- The Project Manager must attend Committee Virtual Office Hours (Annual Grants only)
- Partnerships or collaborations with other departments and/or external nonprofits, businesses, etc. must be evidenced by a signed Letter of Commitment/Collaboration
- Projects that are led, initiated, or authored by students and involve their leadership or participation
- Projects that can obtain matching/additional funds
- Projects that engage with and directly support underrepresented groups on campus and promote equity
What Will be Funded by the CSF?
- Student employee and personnel wages, employee related expenses, and other personnel expenses
- Full time benefit/ ancillary employee wages and graduate assistant stipends/ tuition remission (Annual Grants only) as well as student employee wages (both Annual and Mini Grants)
- 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 (i.e. labor expenses charged by Facilities Management to complete a project on-campus)
- Capital equipment between $5,000 and $100,000 in value (Annual Grants only)
- 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
- Funds may never be used for reimbursement for items that have already been purchased, for projects that have already begun, or for projects that are already completed. This includes requesting funding for items (including capital equipment) or for labor already purchased or completed. Funding also cannot be requested to pay for any expenses (labor or otherwise) that were going to be purchased regardless of the Committee’s funding decision
- Student stipends (with the exception of graduate assistant stipends)
- The CSF strongly recommends student employee hourly wages in place of student 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
- Gift cards
- Purchases from Amazon and other large retailers unless the application specifies that all other avenues have been explored and there is no other way to purchase those specific items. Sourcing from ethical, responsible, and local vendors when feasible is a high priority of the CSF
- We always recommend inquiring about wholesale options for projects buying in bulk as it will save money and enable Project Managers to purchase more product. Most reputable vendors offer wholesale options when customers inquire about purchasing larger quantities
- Higher product costs due to sourcing from smaller retailers will not negatively impact an application’s chances for approval
- Give-aways or merchandise items that do not support the mission of the project/mission of the Fund (i.e. “swag” such as t-shirts, hats, tote bags, lanyards, cups, etc. as they are typically inherently unsustainable and end up underutilized or entirely unused)
- Items that promote sustainability such as reusable goods will be considered but are not a priority for funding. The application must note why these items are key requests and demonstrate that there is a need for these for the target population and that they will be utilized and serve a specific use for the intended event/community
- Projects without official quotes from Facilities Management that require them
- Projects that have not received pre-authorization from all necessary parties (i.e a sign installation on campus requires quotes/approvals from Facilities Management, the Building Manager, if applicable, the University of Arizona Sign Committee, etc. OR a water bottle refill station in the Student Union requires quotes/approves from Facilities Management and Student Union leadership)
- Projects that serve a small population of the student body relative to the amount of money requested, or projects that do not have an impact on the student population
- Projects that would result in profit through sale of a service or good. If your project proposal includes a fee or the sale of a service, please meet with us to ensure it will fit within the scope of the Fund
Approved Project Requirements
The CSF Committee reserves the right to approve a project with stipulations, “Approved with Stipulations.” Stipulations are conditions or requirements requested by the CSF Committee that must be agreed upon by the Project Manager(s) before funding is formally approved and released.
Stipulations are not intended to be burdensome or to drastically change the purpose or scope of a proposed project and instead are meant to positively benefit the project, often increasing the potential impact of the project.
Once agreed upon, stipulations will become formal additions/changes to the approved project and will be integrated into the Letter of Agreement and Work Plan processes.
Tracking and Reporting
CSF grants are not a one-time transaction, but instead encourage ongoing communication and collaboration between the CSF Committee and Project Manager(s) to ensure project success and adequate tracking of project impacts.
Once a grant has been approved, the Project Manager(s) will use the CSF Work Plan template to outline key goals, deadlines, and objectives to make a plan to keep the project on track. Metrics to be tracked throughout the course of the project will also be identified and agreed upon during the first meeting between the CSF and Project Manager(s). These metrics will be reported on within each Progress Report.
Approved projects are required to submit Progress Reports on a quarterly basis. Progress Reports will be completed by the Project Manager(s) in March, May, August, and December unless funding is awarded after one of these deadlines or the project ends prior to a deadline (most likely in the case of Mini Grants). These Progress Reports allow the Committee to track the progression of approved projects and to ensure they are meeting agree-upon milestones.
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.
Each project will also have one or two designated Project Facilitators from the CSF Committee. Project Facilitators will coordinate monthly, or more as needed, meetings with Project Managers and will assist Project Managers with project coordination and completion and will ensure the Work Plan is being carried out in a satisfactory manner.
Marketing and Communication of Projects
Recognition of the CSF and its support is required. Each Project Manager will receive official Campus Sustainability Fund logos and information on how they can and cannot be used. The CSF must be recognized in all project marketing and communications materials by its full name. The CSF logo must be included whenever the department’s logo is used in advertising events or other outreach for the project. Each use of the CSF logo must be approved by the CSF prior to publication.
The CSF will amplify each funded project’s public-facing upcoming events, presentations, and other outreach opportunities if received at least two weeks in advance via its own and the Office of Sustainability’s platforms.
Any permanent signage that will be installed as part of the project will require review by the CSF Coordinator to ensure that all requirements of the University and Office of Sustainability are met and that the sign appropriately represents all parties and displayed information.