Green Fund

As part of the University of Chicago’s commitment to student research, scholarship and innovation around sustainability, Campus and Student Life has launched a Green Fund in collaboration with the student-led UChicago Environmental Alliance (UCEA). Up to $50,000 in grants will be available in the 2020-21 academic year to support student-led research and projects for improving campus sustainability and reducing the University’s environmental impact.

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Application Forms

To apply to the Green Fund, please read the following webpage carefully for eligibility requirements and process. Please fill out the Proposal form and submit it through the Application Google Form. Applications for the Winter Quarter 2021 application cycle are due on Friday, February 12, at 11:59pm CST.

Who Can Apply

All current University of Chicago undergraduate, graduate and professional students and student groups are welcome to apply. Students may apply as individuals, teams or as part of a Recognized Student Organization (RSO). Teams may include faculty, other academic appointees and staff, but the project lead(s) should be students. Students must be enrolled and in good academic and disciplinary standing for the duration of their funded project.

Proposal Criteria

Successful proposals will seek to examine and reduce the environmental impacts of University operations, broadly defined, via either original scholarly research or a stand-alone project.  The research and/or project should have practical and tangible implications for one or more campus functions and UChicago’s overall sustainability goals.

  • Research proposals must examine the environmental impacts of campus life, broadly defined. Student research should have practical implications, such as identifying areas of opportunity; establishing a baseline; or proposing ways to reduce environmental impacts. Applicants should discuss how they will communicate their findings to University decision-makers, faculty, students, or the general public after research is completed. The Green Fund grant may be used to fund the acquisition of data or tools (e.g. software licenses or equipment) necessary to conduct the research. Research proposals should include a rigorous data and methodology section, detailing how the qualitative or quantitative data will be collected and analyzed. Collaboration with other students and/or faculty members is strongly preferred.
    • Examples:
      • Energy audit of Henry Hinds Laboratory building
      • Feasibility study of using biofuels to provide energy for UChicago’s dining halls
      • Impact analysis of UChicago’s greenhouse gas emissions on air quality in the South Side of Chicago
  • Project proposals must reduce the environmental impacts of campus life, broadly defined. The student project should have tangible impacts; generally, one-time events will not be approved unless the event(s) are part of a larger initiative with tangible impacts. Applicants should discuss how the project will be implemented, identify relevant stakeholders and create potential contingency plans.
    • Examples:
      • Establish composting in campus cafés
      • Create a community garden or greenhouse on campus
      • Implement a zero-waste initiative for major RSO events

Application Process

Green Fund grant proposals for 2020-21 can be submitted by one of the two following deadlines:

  • Friday, October 30 (Week 5, Autumn Quarter, 2020)
  • Friday, February 12 (Week 5, Winter Quarter, 2021)

A maximum of $25,000 will be awarded in each application cycle. Applicants will be notified of their funding status no later than three weeks after the application deadline. Grants of $500-$5,000 will be awarded for impactful, short-term (≤1 year) research or projects. Grant proposals requesting over $5,000 for long-term (>1 year) research or projects will be considered with increased supervision and mentorship expectations.

To be eligible for review, grant proposals must include the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Experiences and Qualifications of the applicant(s)
  • Needs Assessment: Problem or need at UChicago
  • Project Goals and Outcomes
  • Implementation Plan
  • Impact Statement
  • Evaluation Plan and Timeline: Metrics and key milestones for measuring project impact and defining success, including how results will be communicated to University stakeholders
  • Itemized Budget

Updates for 2020-21 Academic Year

The Green Fund will continue to award grants during the 2020-21 academic year following COVID-19 guidelines from the University and CDC. There will be a section on the application for applicants to describe how many people will be involved and how safety precautions will be followed during proposal implementation (i.e. masks, social distancing, density, etc.). Safety during this time is of great importance and proposals will be evaluated based on the clarity and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines in this written section.