Environmental and Social Sustainability Small Grants Program

Call for Proposals – Environmental and Social Sustainability Small Grants Application

The Office of Sustainability and the Institute of the Environment seek proposals from student-faculty teams for projects that enhance environmental sustainability and campus-wide student engagement with sustainability issues at the University of Connecticut and Connecticut communities through education, research, authentic community engagement, or campus operations. Successful projects will increase both environmental and social sustainability at the University of Connecticut. Projects should address one or more of the University of Connecticut’s strategic sustainability goal areas (climate change, energy and buildings, waste, outreach and engagement, water resources, food and dining, purchasing, transportation, or grounds, open space and conservation areas) AND one or more related social challenges (fostering inclusion of diverse perspectives, addressing systematic inequalities, environmental justice, social and health inequity, community development, etc). Project activities may occur at any of the University of Connecticut campuses and/or extend to Connecticut communities outside of the University campuses. Special consideration will be given to interdisciplinary projects that advance equity and justice or incorporate the arts and humanities. Successful applicants will be expected to present their project findings and impacts at a symposium at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus in Fall 2022.

Eligibility: All currently enrolled University of Connecticut undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply. Students must be full-time during the Spring 2022 semester. Applications can be submitted by an individual student or teams of students. Each project must have at least one faculty or staff collaborator who submits a letter of support with the application and will actively participate in the project. The proposal must specify the depth and breadth of active collaboration with identified faculty or staff collaborators. Students can lead only one proposal each and can collaborate on up to three proposals (but can participate in no more than three proposals total). Faculty/staff members can collaborate on no more than three proposals each.

Funding: Limited funding is available for proposed projects with budgets up to $10,000. Proposals should provide strong justification for all budgetary items. Awards will be announced by February 2022 and funds must be fully spent by June 30, 2022.

Target Deadline and Submission: For full consideration, proposals must be submitted as a single PDF via email to sustainability@uconn.edu by January 10, 2022 with the subject line “SUSTAINABILITY PROPOSAL”. Letters of support from faculty or staff members may be submitted with the PDF or separately.

Proposals must contain the following sections:

  1. Project title:
  2. Project Description (1000 word limit): Describe your proposed project or initiative, including 1) how the proposed activities will enhance environmental and social sustainability and 2) how you will assess the impact(s) of the proposed activities. A timeline over which you plan to design, implement, and assess your project should also be included in this section.
  3. Project leadership and coordination (500 word limit): Describe the capabilities, roles, and commitments of the person(s) involved in the project. Include all students, organizations, academic units, and faculty or staff advisors involved in the project.
  4. Itemized Budget Request (no word limit): Include a detailed budget justification for all project expenses. Appropriate expenses include student salary for completing the project (up to $3000 per student and $6000 maximum), materials and supplies, and travel. The salary of faculty or staff members cannot be included in requested funds. Each project expense must be strongly justified in the request.
  5. Faculty or Staff Support Letter(s) (can be submitted together or separately from the application): Describe the capacity in which you know the student or student team, your evaluation of the ability of the team to execute tasks and achieve stated goals as well as the impact of those activities on socio-environmental sustainability, and your commitment and plans to actively collaborate on the project. Please keep support letters to two pages in length. If support letters are submitted separately, please submit them by January 10 to sustainability@uconn.edu with the subject “SUSTAINABILITY PROPOSAL – LETTER ”, using the name of the student who submitted the application.

Background: The Office of Sustainability joined the Institute of the Environment when the Institute was formed in 2019. The mission of the Institute of the Environment is to catalyze environmental scholarship, education, and engagement across all facets of the University to address some of the most challenging issues facing society today. The Institute of the Environment comprises four administrative units (the Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, Natural Resources Conservation Academy, and the Office of Sustainability). Within the Institute, the Office of Sustainability works with senior administrators, students, faculty and staff to set and achieve strategic sustainability goals in the areas of climate action and resilience, energy and buildings, waste reduction and diversion, water resources, food and dining, grounds, purchasing, transportation, open space and natural resource stewardship. The Office develops outreach and engagement programs that feature experiential learning to raise awareness and improve performance around sustainable practices and behaviors.

Questions about this call for proposals should be directed to sustainability@uconn.edu or Ashley Helton (ashley.helton@uconn.edu).