Sustainability Fund

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, 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.


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

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

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

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

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

About the Board

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
2015-2016 Sustainability Fund Board

At-large student representative Ryan Kilgore, Board Chair
University Graduate Student Association representative Jacob Rutz
Student Government representative Jasmine Scheitler
At-large student representative Jessica Westervelt
At-large student representative Samuel Shain
At-large student representative Elizabeth Wallner
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 Liz Bowen, 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 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.