UMD Sustainability Grants
Any student, faculty, or staff at UMD can receive funding for initiatives and projects that benefit sustainability! Approximately $330,000 is available each fiscal year in the Sustainability Fund, so consider any ideas or initiatives you'd like to propose.
There are three main ways to access grant funding for campus sustainability projects:
Sustainability Fund Grant Recipients
Over 156 projects have received more than $3.2 million in Sustainability Fund grants since 2011. Explore those projects and learn more about each years' grant recipients!
Sustainability Fund Grants
$2,000 - $330,000 per award
Proposals are due by October 15th or January 15th, each year.
The minimum grant request is $2,000 for fund grants. If you would like to request less than that amount, see the Mini-Grant section below. Please review the proposal materials and online content carefully. It is highly recommended you contact the Office of Sustainability at least four weeks in advance of the proposal deadline to talk through your proposal before you submit it.
Students, faculty, and staff of the University of Maryland community can apply for funds to support projects that will advance the sustainability of the College Park campus. Students who apply for funds can do so on behalf of a student organization or to fund their own projects, however, a student applicant must have a faculty or staff advisor for his/her project. Follow the guidelines on this website to submit your application.
Project applications are reviewed by the Sustainability Fund Review Committee of the University of Maryland Sustainability Council. The Committee submits its recommendations to the full Sustainability Council, which decides which projects to fund.
It is highly recommended you contact the Office of Sustainability in advance of the proposal deadline to talk through your proposal before you submit it. Projects cannot be funded if they are not supported by essential stakeholders. For instance, you cannot propose to construct a green roof unless you have approval from the facilities group (Facilities Management, Residential Facilities, etc.) that manages that building.
Criteria for Proposals
The Sustainability Fund Review Committee will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria.
- Campus Affiliation - Only UMD students, staff members, and/or faculty members can propose projects. Individual students or student organizations proposing a project must include the name and contact information for a faculty or staff sponsor/advisor who is committed to advising throughout the project implementation. All proposers must include the name and contact information for a business officer who will oversee the use of funds for the project.
- Minimum Request - The proposer requests no less than $2,000 and no more than the total amount available in the Sustainability Fund. Proposers seeking less than $2,000 can request a Sustainability Mini Grant from the Student Government Association’s Sustainability Committee.
- Innovation - The project is innovative and does not include routine maintenance/equipment replacement or code-compliant activities. The Fund may provide money to cover the cost difference between conventional equipment and/or operations and sustainable alternatives.
- Itemized Budget and Schedule - The proposer must submit an itemized budget that details the full cost of implementing the project and specifies the budget items for which the proposer is seeking Sustainability Fund support. The proposer must also provide an appropriate schedule for completing the project.
- Metrics and Reporting - The proposal includes a plan for tracking, recording, and reporting the project outcomes back to the Fund Coordinator within 12 months of receiving funding.
- Project Outcomes - Sustainability Fund projects typically meet at least one of the following criteria and ideally meet multiple criteria in this section, however, projects that do not meet these criteria may be considered. Please contact the Fund Coordinator prior to applying if your project does not match with one of the following:
- The project improves the environmental performance of campus operations by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing energy and/or water use, enhancing stormwater management, increasing biodiversity, minimizing waste, etc.
- The project substantially improves or creates opportunities for UMD students to learn about and develop skills for sustainability or otherwise enhances the UMD student experience.
- The project involves research that would create substantial opportunities for student involvement and the outcomes of the research have practical implications for improving the environmental performance of campus operations.
- Appropriate Expenses - The proposer requests Sustainability Fund money to cover the costs for materials and/or skilled labor to implement the project. Furthermore, Fund money would cover only one-time costs and not ongoing costs.
- Feasibility and Institutional Support - The project is feasible and has the support/approval of appropriate campus individuals and units.
- Cost/Benefit Analysis - The project proposal outlines the payback period (if applicable) and clearly-defined, measureable outcomes, backed by metrics. The benefits will be considered relative to costs and the availability of monies within the Fund.
- Matching Funds - The sponsoring department or other entities beyond the Sustainability Fund offer matching financial or in-kind support for the project.
$1 - $2,000 per award
Sustainability Mini Grants are intended to provide small grants (up to $2,000) to encourage the development or maintenance of projects or programs that improve the sustainability of the UMD campus and/or enhance opportunities for students to learn about sustainability issues. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to apply. The SGA Sustainability Committee will review applications as they are received and applicants will receive a funding decision within 30 days of submitting a complete application. A total of $10,000 is available each semester. Projects requesting more than $2,000 must apply through the University Sustainability Fund.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis from September 1 to April 30 each year.
UMD Student Facilities Fund
The UMD Student Facilities Fund provides funding for student-supported facilities projects and improvements that will positively impact and enhance the student experience at UMD. This fund is also supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority subcommittee of the University Facilities Council. Projects such and solar panels, energy-efficient lighting upgrades, vertical gardens, and other sustainable initiatives have received funding from the Facilities Fund.