Sustainability Fund

Sustainability-Fund-LogoThe NC State Sustainability Fund Advisory Board announces the second annual Request For Proposals to advance sustainability on campus.  This RFP is for projects that have high immediate impact or for longer-term projects that have significant potential for high impact.  Projects can focus on education, outreach, infrastructure or any other component of campus sustainability.  Examples include workshop development and sponsorship, symposium development, projects aimed at some aspect of sustainability, pilot projects to demonstrate potential for successful use of longer-term funding, large-scale infrastructure improvements, or other creative uses of these student-fee derived funds.  Faculty or staff-directed projects are appropriate if accompanied by a statement indicating how students will participate in the project or how students will benefit from project completion.  Students are encouraged (but not required) to develop projects in conjunction with a faculty mentor or advisor.  Priority will be given to projects with matching funds from other public or private sources.  Letters of support from advisors and partners are strongly encouraged (letters of support from additional funding partners are required).

2015-2016 Timeline
Jan. 12, 2015: Request for proposal opens
Jan. 16, 2015: Informational meeting for potential applicants (Talley Room 3285, 4:30-5:00)
Feb. 27, 2015: Proposals due via email to
May 1, 2015: Funding decisions made and communicated
July 1, 2015: Funded projects begin
Dec. 1, 2015: Mid-year reports due from grant recipients
June 15, 2016: Final reports due from grant recipients

If you have questions, please email the Fund Advisory Board Chair at with your specific question, or feel free to call 248-417-8343 with any questions.

Applications to be a member of the 2015-2016 Sustainability Fund Advisory Board are now being accepted. The application is due by April 9 at 5 pm. If you are interested and have any questions about the Board, member responsibilities, or about the Fund, please contact Nate Pedder at or at (248) 417-8343. The Board will communicate its decision on May 1. Apply now >>>

Grants in Progress

2014-2015 Grant Cycle’s recipients (learn more)

  • Purchase of 12 bikes, bike maintenance items and 24 smart locks to support three existing campus bike sharing programs.
  • Development of a community garden, passive solar greenhouse and apiary near the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Installation of a sculptural solar energy system near on Centennial Campus.
  • Installation of a solar trash compactor, which has five times the capacity of a conventional waste bin.

About the Fund

Student-Sustainability-FundNC State students began contributing a sustainability fee of $1.50 per semester in fall 2013 following a student-led campaign that included pledges of support from more than 2,000 students and letters of support from faculty, staff and other campuses with sustainability fees. The fee is expected to generate $85,000 per year (minus reserve) for the Sustainability Fund. A student-led board manages the fund, which offers competitive grants for sustainability-related projects, education and resources that enhance campus and student learning.

The Sustainability Fund Board manages the fund with oversight of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, which appoints board members who have knowledge of sustainability and/or student life at NC State. Operating under a constitution and bylaws, the student-led board consists of 7 voting members, which includes at least one faculty member as well as staff liaisons. Ex officio members are added as subject matter expertise is needed. The Board’s responsibilities include:

  • Regularly review grant priorities for campus that align with NC State’s Sustainability Strategic Plan
  • Know the sustainability priorities of the university.
  • Offer an annual or semi-annual request for proposals (RFP) for sustainability project ideas from the NC State community
  • Produce written grant parameters, submission form, and a timeline for the grant cycle that align with the academic calendar
  • Vote, by simple majority, on projects to fund that represent both campus priority projects and campus community project ideas and determine the fund apportionment
  • Establish project monitoring to ensure accountability of funds allocated
  • Document project environmental, social, economic, or other impacts
  • Submit an annual summary of the projects funded, account financial status, and project impacts to DASA, CEST, and the University Sustainability Office. This summary will be included on the Sustainability Fund website and in NC State’s Annual Sustainability Report for public reporting.
  • Participate in marketing and outreach activities for the Sustainability Fund
  • Review annually the student fee used to support the Fund and submit all necessary materials to the University Budget Office to be used in the Student Fee Review process
2014-2015 Sustainability Fund Board
 At-large student representative  Nathan Pedder, Mechanical Engineering and Political Science, Board Chair
 University Graduate Student Association representative  Matt Whitlow, Natural Resources
 Student Government representative  Jasmine Scheitler, Environmental Sciences
 At-large student representative  Jessica Westervelt, Environmental Sciences
 At-large student representative  Brian Iezzi, Textile Engineering and Materials Science Engineering
 Division of Academic and Student Affairs representative  Derek Aday, Associate Professor of Applied Ecology
 Campus Environmental Sustainability Team representative  Thomas Skolnicki, University Landscape Architect
 University Sustainability Office representative  Tracy Dixon, Director of University Sustainability Office
 At-large faculty/staff representative  Joesph DeCarolis, assistant professor, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Frequently Asked Questions

How many proposals are selected? How many were selected last year?

In the inaugural year of the Sustainability Fund, five proposals were selected to receive grants. However, this was with a limited $30,000 grant cycle. This year’s grant cycle is $120,000. With limited experience, it is difficult for the Board to say how many proposals are likely to be selected. However, we can say that proposals up to the full $120,000 budget will be considered, so the Board may choose to fund just one $120,000 grant or twelve $10,000 grants, or two $50,000 grants and a $20,000 grant. The number of grants awarded will depend on the quality of the proposals.

Can Sustainability Fund grants fund student interns?

Yes, the Sustainability Fund can award funds for student interns. However, funds will not be allocated for staff/faculty salary.

Do projects have to complete a final report at the conclusion of the project?

Yes, all projects submit both a mid-year report and a final report to the Sustainability Fund Advisory Board. This provides the Board an opportunity to learn about the impact of the project.

Does the Board prefer a long-lasting impact project that makes a continued difference?

The Board is looking to fund projects that will make an impact in terms of sustainability. We will fund one off conferences or speaker events, solar panel installations, or large-scale sustainable infrastructure improvements as examples. The Board prefers projects that can impact as many students as possible, but a project that deeply impacts 10 students can be just as important and beneficial as a project that briefly impacts 2,000 students.

Can projects be completed before the due date of the following summer?

Yes, projects are encouraged to follow their own timeline, which could result in completion in September or completion on the June 15, 2016 deadline. The only requirement is that the project is completed.

Who can apply?

Students, staff and faculty can apply for grants. Staff and faculty applications must display impact on students and student involvement.

Will the Board partially fund a project? Do they require matching funds?

Partially funded projects occur on a per-case basis. The Board does not require matching funds, though matching funds or an outside monetary commitment can strengthen an application.

Can you submit multiple proposals?

Yes, students, staff and faculty can submit as many proposals as they wish.

How many people can you have on a project?

There is no limit to the number of people on a project, though there should be one or two project leads. Students are encouraged to have a staff/faculty mentor for projects as well.

How long is the application?

Applications can be a maximum of six pages. An attached document section is not counted toward this maximum.

When does the project have to start? And why is the start date July 1?

The start date of July 1 is the beginning of the new fiscal year. Projects are not required to start over the summer, though they are encouraged to start as soon as possible to ensure the project follows its timeline and is successful.

For a project with some optional components in the budget, should I submit one application or two?

If you have a project that has optional components, please include all components in one application and note in the application which components of the project are necessary and which are optional. Please also set up the budget accordingly so the price of each components, necessary or optional, are included. This gives the Board the most flexibility in potentially funding projects in whole or in part depending on each component. Please do not submit each component as a separate application, or separate applications with components added or subtracted. That being said, groups and individuals can still submit multiple applications as long as they are for different projects.

Can I see a proposal from one of the funded projects last year?

Yes, this is the BitLock/Bike Share Expansion application from last year. If you need to see a different application, please contact