image of John Byrne and panelists from 11/18/2008 event

Introducing the University of Delaware Sustainability Fund

On Earth Day 2009 the University of Delaware announced detailed plans to cut campus‐wide emissions by 20% by 2020. This action plan is among the most aggressive commitments by any university or college in the world. In addition, UD’s groundbreaking research has lasting impact. For instance, we are fast becoming a national and international resource for environmental research, technology, education, and policy.

To expand this leadership, the University’s faculty and staff have created the University of Delaware Sustainability Fund (UDSF).

Funded entirely from contributions by staff, students, faculty, and alumni, the UDSF is not intended for major capital investments; instead, it is intended to stimulate innovative opportunities for broad community involvement in the effort to reduce UD’s carbon footprint and to develop a sustainable University. The grant application process described below is how funds from the UDSF are awarded.

Grant Guidelines

  • Grants are for projects that address issues of sustainability with preference given to those that work toward achieving the goals of the University’s Climate Action Plan.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and alumni may apply. Alumni applications require a current student, faculty, or staff member included as a partner.
  • Educational and demonstration projects are eligible so long as they will clearly lead to future reductions identified in the Climate Action Plan.
  • Projects must be completed within one year from the date that funding is allocated. Multiple-year projects will be considered, but only one year of funding will be awarded per successful application. Additional years of funding will require re-submission each year.
  • Funded projects will, in most cases, be assigned a liaison from the Sustainability Task Force in order to facilitate communication with other resources on or off campus.
  • Recipients must submit a short mid-term progress report and a final report that will be posted on the sustainability website and participate in the Earth Week poster session.
  • Undergraduate applicants are required to identify a faculty or staff mentor for their proposed project.
  • The amount of funds available for 2012 UDSF grants is approximately $20,000.

Application and Award Process:

  1. Download and complete the Sustainability Fund Grant Application
  2. Submit the application electronically no later than November 23, 2012 to Jimmy Howard, chair of the UDSF Working Group, at
  3. The UDSF Working Group, in consultation with others on the Task Force, will rank proposals according to the criteria listed below. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions before December 23, 2012.
  4. Funding will be awarded in December 2012. Recipients will have one year to complete their projects. It is recognized that no-cost extensions may be required in some cases, and these will be considered as necessary.

Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss project concepts with the Sustainability Task Force prior to actual proposal submission. For more information, please contact Jimmy Howard. You may also contact Anne-Marie Crossan or John Madsen, co-chairs of the Task Force, at

Ranking Criteria:

Preference will be given to proposed projects that are consistent with the goals of the University Climate Action Plan and with the mission of the UD Sustainability Task Force.

In addition, it must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • involve collaboration across groups (student, faculty, staff, and alumni)
  • have an educational impact on the University; educational for the people working on the project and/or educational for the UD community
  • have a positive impact on the community beyond UD
  • be completed within a one-year timeline (eligible to apply for additional funds in subsequent years)

Example Projects:

  • Internship working with key faculty or staff on sustainability related initiative: for example, funding an intern to work with Facilities O&M to develop an inter-dorm or inter-collegiate energy reduction competition
  • Research that quantifies or evaluates efficiency of alternative energy installations: for example, metering solar panels to determine efficiency
  • Feasibility studies evaluating implementation of sustainable practices or installations: for instance, evaluating appropriate plant species for a green roof installation or developing a system to separate, store, and transport food waste for composting
  • Demonstration: for example, setting up a model green lab with possible inclusion of internship and educational campaign
  • Class project: for instance, funding for an engineering class to develop stormwater runoff management practices
  • Creating outreach or educational material: for example, creating a documentary on sustainable fashion industry initiatives; putting together an instruction manual describing installation of ecologically sound community open space landscaping; developing a summer camp for youth that provides hands-on participation in environmental practices
  • Installation of a practice: for instance, installation of a cistern that allows for disconnecting building downspouts from storm sewers.

UD Sustainability Information

April 2009 Commitments and Action Plan

Earth Day Announcement

Climate Action Plan

April 2008 Sustainability Commitments

UDaily coverage

Presidential Climate Commitment

Talloires Declaration

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