Great ideas are generated daily, but action upon those ideas are not. If this is a bit too common for you, and you wish to improve the campus and community, look into the Student Sustainability Fund and receive a grant to make those ideas a reality.

The Student Sustainability Fund (SSF) is a portion of money reserved for student projects and organizations. Students must complete a thorough application process to be considered for a grant. The leaders of the Student Sustainability Coalition decide how the money is distributed.

“This is a grant for students with big ideas,” senior Matthew Nelson said. Nelson works for the Student Sustainability Coalition and is the head of the Edible Campus. “Students come to us and if their project is well thought out enough, this money is available for them to pursue their project.”

The fund began in 2005 and has allocated over $260,000 toward student-led projects. The Office of Sustainability is in collaboration with the ASUO to make this possible.

Students have used this fund to create installations and projects that have enhanced sustainability education. Past projects include Project Tomato, the Sustainability Radio News Program and OIMB Sustainability Program.

“The sustainability grant was extremely helpful for our community garden project,” said Rose Rimler, student member of the OIMB Sustainability Program which received a grant from the SSF in 2012. “Without that money, we might have been able to build a community garden here, but we wouldn’t have been able to afford the recycled plastic lumber or the local soil and wood chips.”

The two-step application process is closed  and is no longer accepting applications for this year. Students planning to apply next fall have until Dec. 2 to complete an application of intent. To verify the project’s eligibility a board member is appointed to the student or group for assistance through their final application due on Jan. 24.

“It’s a big learning process.We help them learn how to write a grant. We work with them to make sure everything is thought out and their plan is feasible,” Nelson said. 

Passionate and innovative ideas that will create a positive impact on the environment are exactly what the Sustainability Fund election board is looking for. If the project takes place on the UO campus, the funding isn’t used as stipends to students or to pay for consultant fees and the execution is primarily student ran then your idea is ready for an application of intent.

Attendance to a writing workshop full of tips and effective tools led by official EMU grant writer Mary Farrington is a requirement of applicants that increases chances of receiving funds.

Final grant applications are formal proposals with a cover letter explaining the project’s purpose and plans.

Projects that exceed a request of $10,000 will not be considered unless notable. The grant is accessible for up to one year and remaining money after that year will be returned back to the fund unless a request for extension is requested.

“We have a great infrastructure in place for future students who might want to use it. It’s also been a great refuge for students who want to find some time away from their busy class schedules,” Rimler said.


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