Sustainability Fund

sustainability fund


NC State students began contributing a sustainability fee 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 generates $180,000 per year (minus reserve) for the Sustainability Fund, which awards grants for campus sustainability projects that impact students. 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 fee is currently $2.50 per semester but will increase in small increments over time.


Apply To Join The Board

The Sustainability Fund Advisory Board is looking to fill two undergraduate representative positions for the 2018-2019 academic year. Email your completed application to by Wednesday, April 18th at 11:59 PM.


Apply For A Grant

The application period closed Feb. 16, 2018 and will reopen in late 2018 for the 2019-2020 funding cycle.


Funded Projects

The Fund has enabled many sustainability projects on campus.

Current Grant Recipients

2018-2019 Grant Cycle’s recipients (learn more)

  • Design assessment for a solar-powered heating system at Bragaw Residence Hall.
  • Installation at the Student Health Center of a window film designed to reduce bird collisions with the building while also providing an undergraduate research opportunity to assess the film’s effectiveness.
  • Installation of water bottle refilling stations at the College of Textiles.
  • Expansion of the Food Recovery Network, a student organization that addresses hunger by working with NC State Dining to recover leftover food from campus dining locations and distribute to local nonprofit organizations.
  • A pilot project that installs timers on Bragaw Residence Hall showers in order to raise student awareness of water use and reduce the building’s water consumption.
  • Improvement of trails and signage at Lake Raleigh to encourage running, biking and other outdoor activities on Centennial Campus.
  • Development of an Energy and Justice Service Trip to educate students about social environmental implications while participating in service projects such as clean up of waterways and after hurricanes.
  • Restoration of the longleaf pine woodland on NC State’s Lake Wheeler Road Biological Field Laboratory involving prescribed burns with assistance from Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources students.
  • Two concerts by NC State and Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra to create interdisciplinary conversation about environmental issues and sustainability initiatives.
  • Interactive class assignment that teaches students in Environmental Sciences and other related courses about urban trees. By helping identify and measure campus trees, students will provide vital data to ensuring sustainable tree landscaping on campus.

2017-2018 Grant Cycle’s recipients (learn more)

  • Project Complete: The completion of a roof-top garden on Talley Student Union, which will expand research, education and production of local food in an urban campus environment. Story
  • Project Complete: Installation of solar-powered scoreboards in University Recreation’s Method Road Field Complex. Story
  • Installation of a campus aerated static pile (ASP) composting system, which will become the largest ASP system on a university campus in the Southeast, as well as one of the largest in the country
  • Project Complete: Creation of a composting program in Wolf Village Apartments that will reduce waste while also educating residents about composting. Story
  • Support for the student-led development of a solar-powered vehicle prototype that would seat four people and weigh under 900 pounds. Story
  • Project Complete: Campus installation of “bee hotels,” a series of solitary bee nesting habitats, along with signs to educate the public about the importance of these pollinators Story and Video
  • Improvements and expansion of the student-built aquaponics system that is in On the Oval restaurant on Centennial Campus
  • Research on healthy urban trees, which will maximize campus tree health while educating the public about best practices in tree care
  • Project Complete: Make-a-thon, a four-day challenge during which student teams research, design, prototype and build a new solution that addresses a sustainability challenge. Story
  • Project Complete: Installation of a campus bin for safe, responsible disposal of prescription medications at Student Health Services pharmacy. Story
  • Project Complete: New vegetables and infrastructure to deter deer at the student-led SOUL Garden on Centennial Campus. Story
  • Installation of a water-efficient drip irrigation system for garden beds at SOUL Garden
  • Educational campaign in NC State dining halls about food sustainability

2016-2017 Grant Cycle’s recipients (learn more)

  • Project Complete: Support bringing the Nile Project to NC State in March 2017 in partnership with NC State LIVE. Story
  • Project Complete: Pilot project for “floating islands” in water basins on Main and Centennial Campuses that will aid in passive water treatment and stormwater management.Story
  • Project Complete: Composting of cotton and fabric waste from the College of Textiles. Story | Photos
  • Project Complete:Sustainability graduate student position to strengthen relationships and build sustainability programs that engage the campus community at NC State Athletics events
  • Project Complete: Installation of a solar bus stop outside Witherspoon Student Center that will allow students to charge electronics while waiting for alternative transportation. Story | Photos
  • Project Complete: Pilot study using electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) in the Biotechnology program to reduce paper usage by 70 percent while also increasing student collaboration. Story
  • Project Complete: Pollinator-friendly landscaping beds at JC Raulston Arboretum. Story/Video
  • Project Complete: Pollinator-friendly meadow on Centennial Campus. Story | Photos
  • Project Complete: Collaboration with the second annual NC State Make-a-Thon, a design and innovation challenge focused on addressing campus sustainability issues. Photos | Story
  • Project Complete: Product development and testing of a student-created sensor that will be placed in campus waste and recycling dumpsters to monitor capacity and alert staff when emptying is needed. Story
  • Project Complete: A new Alternative Service Break (ASB) trip that involves student participants installing solar photovoltaic panels in underserved communities. Story
  • Project Complete: Collection and redistribution of unwanted furniture to students in the Pack Promise program. Story
  • Project Complete: Two performances by the Raleigh Civic Symphony and associated educational events focused on the celebration of nature and the National Parks Service.
  • Project Complete: Installation of water bottle refilling stations in Jordan Hall and D.H. Hill Library and a corresponding educational poster competition.
  • Project Complete: Purchase of food storage pans to support the new student-led Food Recovery Network on campus. Story

2015-2016 Grant Cycle’s recipients (learn more)

  • Project Complete: Two projects to install additional solar trash compactors on campus
  • Project Complete: Performance of the Great Animal Orchestra Symphony during NC State’s Earth Month 2016. Photos
  • Project Complete: Reconstruction of a garden bed and installation of signage at the student-led SOUL Garden
  • Project Complete: Implementation of a “BioBlitz” project that will survey the diversity of campus wildlife. Story
  • Project Complete: Installation of an aquaponics system that will provide food for University Dining and local food banks. Story | Video
  • Project Complete: Marketing materials for the Campus Farmers Market
  • Project Complete: Installation of an outdoor solar charging station near Tucker Hall. Story
  • Project Complete: Student internship and workshop supplies for NC State’s Compost Training Facility
  • Project Complete: Student internship and supplies for NC State’s Agroecology Education Farm

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

  • Project Complete: Development of a community garden and apiary near the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Story | Photos
  • Project Complete: Purchase of six bikes, bike maintenance items and two smart locks to support the existing residential bike sharing program at the Quad.
  • Project Complete: Installation of a sculptural solar energy system on Centennial Campus. Story | Video
  • Project Complete: Installation of a solar trash compactor, which has five times the capacity of a conventional waste bin. Story


Fund Board

About the student-led board that coordinates the Fund.

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. If you have questions, please email the Fund Advisory Board Chair at 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

At-large student representative Elizabeth Wallner, Board Chair
University Graduate Student Association representative Annie Wang
Student Government representative Pending
At-large student representative Madeline Macmillan, Vice Chair
At-large student representative Samuel Shain
At-large student representative Benjamin Dodson, Treasurer
Division of Academic and Student Affairs representative Derek Aday, Associate Professor of Applied Ecology
Campus Environmental Sustainability Team representative Sumayya Jones-Humienny, Office of the University Architect
University Sustainability Office representative Tracy Dixon, University Sustainability Office Director
At-large faculty/staff representative Andrew Fox, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture



Common questions about the Fund.

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 of a successfully funded project from previous years?

Yes, please find several proposals below from 2014-2015 funding cycle as well as the 2015-2016 cycle. These are the initial proposals and several of the projects had changes of scope after the initial review by the board. These changes of scope are not included here, but if more information on any project to this date is necessary please contact the Board Chair.