The Green Fund supports the purchase of equipment that will reduce the environmental footprint and operating costs, and improve the social impact of campus facilities.
We strongly encourage proposals that are informed by research and proposals that test out technology or processes that, if proved to be effective, could be implemented across the UW campus. The Green Fund does not, however, cover wages for researchers. Likewise, we encourage outreach and education related to a funded project but will not fund the time to do so. Many classes and student organizations are natural partners for such efforts. Educational signage can be funded as part of a larger intervention.
The student applicant(s) will initiate the project and play the roles of advocate, visionary, and connector. Students must work in partnership with maintenance, construction, procurement, and/or administrative staff associated with the location of their proposed upgrade. Working relationships with staff should be established prior to the application to demonstrate facility support for the project.
Office of Sustainability staff can help problem-solve and facilitate connections with facility staff or resources. Students are expected to work directly with the project facility partner to complete the project.
The Green Fund will disburse funds directly to the host facility. Once completed, any physical improvements will be owned and managed by the host facility. Purchasing of any needed materials or equipment must follow UW–Madison procurement policies and procedures.
Who can apply?
Any student in good academic standing can apply to the Green Fund, including full- or part-time students and both undergraduate and graduate students. Consult your school or college for academic standing requirements. For undergraduates, typically this means not being on probation or in dropped status; for graduate students, the requirements are more complex.
How do I apply?
Applicants can fill out a Pre-Proposal at any time. Green Fund staff will review these Pre-Proposals, offer feedback and connect students with the appropriate facilities staff to continue to develop the proposal into a Full Application. This can be submitted twice a year: November 8 and March 19. For more information click here.
How much funding is available?
The Green Fund has $50,000 to disburse during the 2023-2024 academic year. We anticipate funding four to ten projects. Applicants may identify additional sources of support, such as in-kind contributions from the host facility (e.g., labor provided by the host facility to install materials purchased by the Green Fund) or external funding (e.g., a government rebate for energy efficiency). The budget section of the application form requests both the amount requested from the Green Fund and any amount(s) provided by other sources.
Please note: when an infrastructure project budget exceeds $50,000, the state of Wisconsin requires additional project review. This review extends the project timeline to two to three years depending on the complexity of the project. The Green Fund Review Committee will consider applications for larger projects, but applicants should be aware of the implications of proposing projects over this $50,000 threshold.
What is the timeline?
Pre-proposals can be submitted anytime. Green Fund staff will then work with you to connect with facilities staff to develop your ideas ahead of the Full Application deadlines.
Dec 11 – 14 Green Fund staff communicate funding decision to applicants December 13 Last day of classes Fall 2023 December 15 – 21 Exams
January 23 First day of classes Spring 2024 February 7 Green Fund Spring Event March 19 (11 pm) Full Application due March 23 – 31 Spring Break
March 20 – April 17 Green Fund Review Committee evaluates applications April 18 – May 2 Green Fund staff communicate funding decision to applicants May 3 Last day of classes Spring 2024 May 5-11 Exams
How are proposals evaluated?
A successful application will both present a creative idea and demonstrate a clear path to implementation in partnership with a host facility. Projects must result in measurable impacts. The Green Fund application package includes a calculator to aid in the measurement process. Proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Implementation (40 points total) Evaluated based on responses to the Application Form, Support Letter, and report from Green Fund staff on communications to date.
Did the applicant demonstrate the ability to accomplish what they set out to do (15 points)?
Did the applicant build a working relationship with relevant staff at the host facility (maintenance, construction, administration, procurement)?
Is the application understandable and complete?
Did the applicant collaborate with Green Fund staff during the application development process?
Does the host facility have the capacity and willingness to construct and maintain the improvement (15 points)?
To what extent would funding this project deepen the educational impact for the student team and other students and staff on campus? (10 points)
Impact (60 points total) Evaluated based on responses to the Budget and Impact Calculator
Environmental – Would the project lead to measurable reductions in energy, water, and solid waste consumption and carbon emissions; reduced exposure to environmental contaminants/ improved air quality (20 points)?
Economic – What is the return on investment (10 points)? Has the host made meaningful contributions to the project budget (10 points)?
Social – Would the project contribute positively to workplace safety, social justice, or another metric of social impact (10 points)?
Educational – To what extent would funding this project deepen the educational impact for the student team and other students and staff on campus? (10 points)
After evaluating a proposal, Green Fund Review Committee members are asked to classify it into one of the following categories:
Ready for Funding – The proposal fits the scope of the Green Fund. Minor details still need to be worked out, but the project team could implement the project if funded.
Needs Work – The proposal fits the scope of the Green Fund. Major details still need to be worked out. It may or may not be feasible to implement the proposal.
Does not Fit the Scope of the Green Fund – Regardless of the level of detail, the Green Fund is not the appropriate funding source for this proposal.
Who will evaluate proposals?
The Green Fund Review Committee consists of nine people: two students, two faculty members, three facilities staff members, and two Office of Sustainability staff members. Review Committee members will first evaluate applications individually and then meet to decide which projects to fund. Green Fund staff will communicate the outcomes to all according to the above timeline.
How will students be supported in their work?
Office of Sustainability staff are available to support students during both the application and implementation phases. We encourage students to attend information sessions, ask questions and contact us if challenges arise at any time during the process. Applicants are also welcome to submit proposal drafts for feedback ahead of the deadline.
We welcome feedback to improve the Green Fund process. Contact Ian Aley, Green Fund Program Manager, with any comments or questions.