Sustainability Fund

The grant cycle for the 2020-2021 year is now closed.

About The 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 $150,000 per year 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 campus facilities improvements, educational programs, research, and student internships that create high-impact experiences for the student body. The fee is currently assessed at $2.50 per semester but will increase in small increments over time.

Grant Opportunities

Project Grants

The Sustainability Fund offers Project Grants to NC State students, faculty, and staff with a specific project idea to improve the sustainability of NC State’s campus and community in a visible and engaging way. There is no set award amount for Project Grants as we award funds to projects of all sizes. Historically, awards have ranged from $1,000 to $50,000. Around $150,000 will be available each year for the Project Grants program. The Sustainability Fund is specifically looking for those projects that help advance the goals of the university’s Sustainability Strategic Plan and result in high-impact experiences for students, faculty and staff. Proposals are due in February and winners will be announced in April each year. Funds will be available in July for project spending through the following June.

FastTrack Grants

The Sustainability Fund offers FastTrack Grants to student organizations with a specific initiative to improve the sustainability of NC State’s campus and community. Each FastTrack Grant will award $1,000 to registered student organizations that submit a proposal for an innovative use of the funds. We accepted applications for FastTrack Grants in early Fall and announce the winners in December. Funds will be available to the selected recipients in January for use before June. The FastTrack Grant cycle for 2020 has been canceled.

Important Dates

  • 2020 FastTrack Grant Application Opens: Canceled
  • 2020 FastTrack Grant Application Deadline: Canceled
  • Normal Project Grant Application Opens: December 2020
  • FastTrack Grant Recipients Announced: Canceled
  • Normal Project Grant Application Deadline: March 2021
  • Normal Project Grant Recipients Announced: Celebration of NC State Sustainability (April 2021). Please direct questions for more information regarding these events to dasa-sfab-chair@ncsu.edu

Funded Projects

Fund Advisory Board

The Sustainability Fund Advisory Board manages the fund with the oversight of the University Sustainability Office. Operating under a constitution and bylaws, the student-led board consists of 10 voting members, which include an interdisciplinary group of NC State students, faculty, and staff. If you have questions, please email the Fund Advisory Board Chair at dasa-sfab-chair@ncsu.edu. Vacancies on the Advisory Board will be announced on this web page (typically in late Spring). The Board’s responsibilities include:

  • Review FastTrack and Project grant proposals and identify recipients in line with available funding and the university’s sustainability priorities.
  • Assist potential project teams and student organizations with the development of their idea into a solid proposal by offering help sessions and connecting potential projects with past projects that have demonstrated success.
  • Administer the finances of the sustainability student fee assessed as a part of tuition each semester.
  • Set the dates, guidelines and requirements for the funding programs.
  • Monitor the progress of projects and assess the long-term impact of projects.
  • Document the impact of the Fund and communicate the effectiveness of the Sustainability Fund on an annual basis.
  • Participate in marketing and outreach activities for the Sustainability Fund.
  • Promote Sustainability Fund projects through social media and university communications.
  • Participate in an annual review the student fee used to support the Fund with the University Budget Office.
Board AdvisorOppong Hemeng, Sustainability Programs Specialist
Chair Nadia Sheppard, Undergraduate Student in Environmental Engineering and Agroecology
Vice ChairLoujain Al Samara, Undergraduate Student in Polymer and Color Chemistry
TreasurerJulie Macialek, Research Specialist in Genomic Sciences Laboratory
Student Government representativeCallie Stanek, Undergraduate Student in Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Graduate Student RepresentativeMegan Boland, Doctorate Student in Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Undergraduate Student RepresentativeSarah Austin, undergraduate student in Plant Biology
Faculty RepresentativeJeremiah Johnson, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Faculty RepresentativeGeorge Hess, Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
Facilities Division RepresentativeSumayya Jones-Humienny, Office of the University Architect
Sustainability Office RepresentativeOppong Hemeng, Sustainability Programs Specialist

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is given to each project?

Each year the total amount of project funding grows based on the revenue earned from the Sustainability Fee. Historically, we have distributed around $150,000 each year and divided that up among projects based on needs and scope. Each project receives a different amount based on what they requested in their proposal. In the history of the Fund, project grants have ranged from $1,000 to $50,000. The Advisory Board does not have a requirement that multiple projects have to be funded; all of the funds could be granted for a single project. FastTrack Grants are limited to a maximum award of $1,000 per student organization.

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?

Funds for Project Grants will typically be available following a disbursement meeting which happens in late August. The project will have the length of the academic year to spend their funds with the goal of finishing the project by the end of the academic year. In special circumstances, we are able to make funds available earlier (in July) or extend the spending deadline (into May). Any unspent funds remaining after June 15 will be forfeited. FastTrack grants will have their funds accessible after their disbursement meeting in early January. The same deadline applies.

Who can apply?

Students, staff, faculty and registered student organizations can apply for grants. Staff and faculty applications must display the project’s impact on students and opportunities for student involvement. Applications for FastTrack Grants must be completed by registered student organizations.

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.

What is the most effective strategy for requesting funds?

For the best chance, we recommend that your project be broken into phases, if possible. We recognize that some projects require all parts to be funded to complete the project. However, if your project can be broken into phases, and we cannot fund the entire project, we could offer to cover some of the phases of the project, rather than denying the proposal outright.

Can I see a proposal of a successfully funded project from previous years?

To get more information on any project please contact the Board Chair.