CSU Sustainability Fund

Sponsored by:

President’s Sustainability Commission

What’s your sustainability idea? Apply for funding here!

The CSU Sustainability Fund, sponsored by the President’s Sustainability Commission, was created to support sustainability efforts across Colorado State University. For FY23, the CSU Sustainability Fund has $25,000 to allocate for sustainability projects. Creativity is encouraged, but some suggestions include energy, water and other resource conservation efforts, academic initiatives, research projects and equipment/processes, education and outreach efforts, environmental justice projects, or other pilot and new grassroots sustainability initiatives.

  • Funding can be requested at any level up to $10,000 on single project proposals. The selection committee aims to fund as many projects as possible with budgeted funding
  • Projects <$1,000 are also encouraged for student programming and engagement efforts 
  • Proposed project outcomes can be more impactful when matching funds are identified
  • Funding can be used for creative ways to enhance, support, or promote sustainability on campus
  • Projects must be related to sustainability efforts within CSU, but can be a collaboration with entities outside the University; however, the project must benefit the University
  • Funding is one-time (no ongoing and/or annual expenses)
  • Proposals may be submitted by CSU students or employees; students are required to have a CSU employee advisor/sponsor
  • Priority will be given to pilots/new initiatives and initiatives that are innovative and could lead to broader sustainability projects and impacts (scalability)
  • Priority will also be given to proposals that integrate social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability
  • All selected and funded projects will be expected to present to the President’s Sustainability Commission in the Spring on the project’s process. 
  • Funding must be spent by the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

The CSU Sustainability Fund is NOT intended to fund the following project types:

  • Electric Vehicles
  • Water Bottle Filling Stations
  • Building Energy Efficiency Projects – apply for funding from The Energy Reserve Fund (ERF) through CSU Facilities. Contact: Stacey Baumgarn and Carol Dollard.

Want to learn more about the Fund? Attend an information session! Fridays October 14th, 21st, and 28th: 10am – 11am. Link to join on Teams (all the same link). 

If you have any questions about the CSU Sustainability Fund, contact Anthony Appleton 

Green Guide: A pocket index of all things sustainable at CSU

Andrew Warnock, from the Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center, and Sam Moccia, from the Student Sustainability Center, will pilot a pocket-sized CSU sustainability guide for students and employees. From commuting to food security, the guide will contain content about sustainability programs at CSU to help students and employees learn how to access resources at CSU and communicate sustainability initiatives on campus. The booklets will be printed on 100% recycled paper and will be distributed in limited quantities in April 2023 (Earth Month).

Sustainability and Human Rights

Human rights and sustainability intersect as pressing global values. Dr. Meagan Todd, of the International Studies Department, will use awarded funds to aid undergraduate student research in human rights and sustainability. As part of the Human Rights Undergraduate Research Academy in the College of Liberal Arts, this program will give undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct cross-cultural fieldwork in Northern Colorado, investigating sustainability as a human right with local immigrant communities.

Mountain Campus EV Charger

Along with grants from the Colorado Energy Office and other sustainability funds on campus, Marianne Weighaus submitted this proposal to help Housing & Dining Services and Facilities Management install the first EV charger at the Mountain Campus. Installing an EV charger at the Mountain Campus will allow students, staff, and visitors to commute in and charge their electric vehicles. This project aligns with the CSU goal of increasing EV accessibility and purchases.

Mattress Topper Recycling

Every year during residence hall move out, over 90 tons of materials are disposed of in the landfill. Mattress toppers are one of the largest volume items tossed as students move out, but many are still in good condition. Kirstie Tedrick, of Housing & Dining Services, will use these funds to host a mattress topper recycling program during move-out to divert these items from the landfill. Donated mattress toppers will be broken down to be recycled or re-purposed.  

Measuring and Encouraging Sustainable Transportation Behavior Among Employees

Jamie Gaskill, Parking & Transportation Services, and Grace Wright, College of Business, will pilot a behavior change campaign to encourage more sustainable commuting habits among CSU employees. 76% of CSU employees commute in single-occupancy vehicles and transportation accounts for 4% of CSU’s annual GHG footprint. Encouraging sustainable commuting habits not only reduces CSU’s overall emissions, but also contributes to employee health and well-being. The results of this pilot program in the College of Business can be used to determine future sustainable transportation strategies for all CSU employees.

The Clover Project

Dory Schmidt, Biological Science major, and ASCSU will work with Facilities Management to install a clover lawn on campus. This lawn will serve as an example of alternative ground cover species to minimize water use, maintenance costs, and support pollinator communities. The plot will also provide educational opportunities for students and the campus community around landscape sustainability and pollinator health.

Eliminating Forever Chemicals from CSU Dining Hall Food Packaging

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals found in many food packaging due to their stain and water-resistant properties. Adrienne Smiley, a doctoral Chemistry student, collaborated with CSU’s Residential Dining Services to test food packaging materials widely used in the dining centers around campus to help eliminate PFAS-containing materials and identified safe and sustainable replacement products. View the Eliminating Forever Chemicals from CSU Dining Hall Food Packaging project presentation.

University Apartments Sustainable Living Challenge

Coming off a successful, but largely virtual, pilot program completed in the 2020-2021 academic year, the University apartments received funding to further engage and provide in-person opportunities for residents to learn about living sustainability in on-campus University apartments. View the University Apartments Sustainable Living Challenge project presentation.

Zero Waste Recycle Initiative

The Zero Waste Team continued their Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) membership, a national organization that helps to support zero waste on college campuses. Sam Cummings, President of the student-organized Zero Waste Team, also collaborated with CSU Central Receiving to broaden the scope of electronic waste recycling during Earth Month 2022. View the Zero Waste Recycle Initiative project presentation.

The Patchwork Initiative

Addressing clothing waste and fast fashion, the Student Sustainability Club (SSC) created the Patchwork Initiative to donate, repurpose, and recycle textiles and clothing, while providing educational opportunities for clothing repair.  The SSC hopes to have physical locations and pop-ups to bring continued awareness to the importance of textile sustainability. View the The Patchwork Initiative project presentation.

Sustainable Tiny House

Given the success of CSU’s first tiny house, Maria Delgado from Nancy Richardson Design Center built a second tiny house with her IDEA 450 Design Thinking Collaborative capstone course. The class aimed to integrate solar panels, in addition to using all sustainable and materials and products throughout the tiny house build. View the Sustainable Tiny House project presentation.

Development of CSU Green Labs Peer-to-Peer Outreach Team

The CSU Green Labs program has developed a body of outreach materials and collected a wide array of resources to help labs at CSU implement best practices for sustainability. This project hired a Peer-to-Peer Outreach Team, who can deliver sustainability solutions to CSU Labs through an intentional, targeted outreach program. This program built the foundation of the program and created a database of contacts and participants for future and continued outreach and engagement through CSU Green Lab Ambassadors. View the Development of CSU Green Labs Peer-to-Peer Outreach Team project presentation.

Environmental Justice Toolkit for University Students

In response to student and employee requests for a more coordinated University curriculum and engagement tool for environmental justice, Mindy Hill, from the Center for Environmental Justice, developed of an environmental justice toolkit for students as a one-stop shop to understand how environmental justice connects to each field of study at CSU. The living, digital toolkit also provides pathways to connect to, and coordinate with, the many resources and programs on campus. View the Environmental Justice Toolkit for University Students project presentation.

Forest Regeneration Experiment in the Wake of the Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Wildfire devastated Colorado and the CSU Mountain Campus, opening an area of opportunity to begin critical research on burned areas of the forest at CSU. Travis Croft and Seth Webb aimed to better understand forest restoration practices following wildfires. During spring and summer 2021, Travis and the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute field crew established 96 plots of land – six plots of in each of four specified burn classification that compared different treatments of forest regeneration.  The project embraced environmental stewardship, and annual monitoring and data collection will contribute to future conservation efforts of forests and natural areas.

Development of Green Labs Training Modules

In response to student and faculty need for pathways to improve sustainability practices in the lab, CSU Green Labs hired three graduate students and developed a set of training materials to highlight sustainability best-practices in laboratories covering energy, water, waste, purchasing, and behavior. The idea was proposed by the CSU Green Labs team of Stacey Baumgarn, Kimberly-Cox-York, Colleen Duncan, and Tracy Webb (Facilities Management, RICRO, and CVMBS respectively). The team’s project embedded these materials into existing training, curriculum, and support for the growing group of CSU Green Lab Ambassadors.

Interpretive Signage for Notable Trees on the Tree Walk

CSU is a designated Campus Arboretum to formally recognize the existing benefits of trees and to foster a legacy of urban forest preservation for future generations. To continue the commitment to education, Fred Haberecht and CSU Facilities developed a self-guided tree walk with interpretive signs of 15 notable trees. A virtual tour can also be seen on CSU’s interactive tour map.  The project targeted sustainability in providing formal infrastructure and helps educate the CSU community about the CSU Campus Arboretum.

Ram Food Recovery

The Ram Food Recovery program was first launched in Spring 2019 to address food insecurity in the CSU community by making excess food from catered events available to those in the campus community experiencing food insecurity. However, the COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique challenge to assisting students, faculty, and staff because there were no catered events since March 2020. Mary Liang, the author of the project, relaunched the Ram Food Recovery program and targeted social sustainability by producing, packaging and distributing 1,200 extra meals during the Spring 2021 academic semester. Marginalized populations are most often impacted by food insecurity, and the pandemic heightened these inequalities. This project was a collaboration between Housing & Dining Services and Rams Against Hunger.