The Sustainable Universities Initiative seeks
to promote a greater understanding of the links between the economy, the
environment and society, in order to prepare students for the complex world
they will enter as adults. Regardless of their chosen major, our
students need to understand such issues well enough to make informed decisions.
Our campuses should set the best example possible, and for this reason
the Initiative also focuses on campus operations, encouraging conservation
and careful planning for physical operations. Ideally, student education
and campus conservation should be combined, allowing students to use the
campus as a laboratory and at the same time assist campus operations.
To that end, the Initiative is offering mini-grants
for the following purposes:
Changing campus operations to conserve resources
and/or reduce pollution (Preference will be given to proposals that use
the campus as a laboratory for students, allowing them to develop skills
by solving campus problems and to proposals that will result in documented
cost savings and/or reductions in pollution).
Developing new courses, or modules for existing
courses, which will infuse sustainability into the curriculum.
(Preference will be given to courses which link academics with campus operations
in some way, which are interdisciplinary in nature, which involve more
than one institution, or which have wide applicability).
Motivating large segments of the campus to consider,
discuss, and take action to minimize pollution and maximize conservation
Organizing a statewide conference or workshop
which brings together faculty (or staff) from multiple disciplines and/or
multiple institutions to consider an issue related to sustainability.
Finally, funding may be available for student-initiated
projects or travel, faculty travel for the purpose of developing expertise
related to sustainability, and research which appears to hold promise for
external, long-term funding, which is inter-institutional and/or interdisciplinary
in nature, and which involves students to the degree possible. Proposals
which focus on university operations are especially welcomed. (Note:
this is not meant to provide continued funding for a personal research
agenda, but to spark a new initiative which will involve cooperation and
interdisciplinary work focused on issues related to sustainability).
All applications are due by 5:00 pm March 4,
Eligible applicants are faculty members from
the state's three research universities or from other SUI member institutions,
who are neither on terminal notice nor have accepted a position at another
institution, or staff members who periodically teach courses or hold research-related
appointments. Post-doctoral appointees are not eligible. While
graduate assistants may be involved in the project, it is not SUI's intent
to fund individual graduate assistants' research programs. Facilities
managers may apply for grants pertaining solely to operations, although,
if students are to be involved, joint faculty/staff applications are preferred.
(Feel free to call the office if assistance is needed in finding partners).
Funding will be for one year, beginning May
1 of the year awarded, or as requested. Awards will generally
be in the range of $3,000 to $10,000 and will not, as a rule, exceed $10,000
for any one project. Awards for the development of new courses or
modules for existing courses will not exceed $3,000. Once awards
are made, the funding will be transferred to the principal investigator's
department, where the investigator will be accountable for the use of the
funds according to the approved budget.
The proposals will be evaluated by the SUI
Steering Committee using the following criteria:
General Information and Requirements:
Likelihood that the project will improve campus
environmental performance by conserving resources or reducing pollution
Likelihood that the project will improve the teaching
of environmental/sustainability concepts.
Likelihood that the project will affect a large
segment of campus.
Degree to which the project is inter-institutional
Ability of the project to serve as a model for
other schools or other agencies and organizations.
Overall quality and significance of the proposal.
Degree to which the project represents new activity.
(The mini-grants are not intended to be an add-on to on-going research).
If the mini-grant is for the development of a
new course or a module for an existing course, the commitment of the applicant's
home department to offer the course at least once every other year, pending
adequate enrollments or, in the case of course modules, commitment of the
applicant to include the module each time the course is offered.
1. Grants are expected to be activated by May
of the year awarded and work is expected to be completed by April 30 of
the following year. Funds must be spent by the end of the calendar
year in which they are awarded, unless specific arrangements have been
made to extend the grant period.
2. An interim progress report must be submitted
by September 1 of the year in which funds are awarded. (Interim reports
can be as brief as a paragraph or two emailed to Kim Buchanan at buchanan
"at" environ.sc.edu; this will aid in our reporting requirements).
3. A final report, consisting of a financial
accounting as well as a description of the project undertaken, results,
student evaluations (in the case of new courses), recommendations for subsequent
efforts, etc. must be submitted to Kim Buchanan at buchanan "at" environ.sc.edu
30 days of the end of the funding period. Final reports will be accessible
through the SUI website in order to inspire and assist others. Therefore,
electronic submissions are preferred, and reports may be brief.
Some very effective reports have included links to supporting material
already included in the faculty member's own website.
4. Faculty are encouraged to submit syllabi
in order to make them available to like-minded individuals around the country.
All syllabi should be submitted with the Final Report to Kim Buchanan at
5. Subsequent applications for funding will
not be considered unless required reports have been made.
6. Publications, where relevant, are encouraged,
and should include an acknowledgment of Sustainable Universities Initiative
7. It is the responsibility of each investigator
to ensure that institutional requirements for the use of humans, animals,
and/or biohazards in research have been satisfied before activating an
8. Pictures of activities (particularly
action shots including students) undertaken as a part of the grant are
very helpful in explaining the program, illustrating its successes, etc.
Please remember to visually document your activities and share photos with
Each applicant must submit one electronic copy
of the entire application (Application Cover Sheet, Narrative Description,
Budget Information Sheet and abbreviated version of Curriculum Vita).
Each application should include:
- If the proposal involves individuals from more than one
department, each should mail one cover sheet signed by his/her own department
chair and dean. Click here if you would like
a Microsoft Word version of the Application Cover Sheet.
Narrative Description including purpose,
target population or audience, expected outcomes, transferability to other
institutions, need for the course or module, and, in the case of new course
development, estimated enrollments for initial and subsequent offerings.
The narrative should not exceed three pages (but applicants should not
feel compelled to fill three pages if the information could be conveyed
Sheet, indicating category of expenditure. If the project involves
individuals from more than one department, indicate to which department
each category of funding applies. Click here
if you would like a Microsoft Word version of the Budget Information Sheet.
Please mail one copy of the complete application,
including the Application Cover Sheet with signatures, abbreviated
version of Curriculum Vita and Budget Information Sheet, to:
The applicant's abbreviated version of his or
her Curriculum Vita or a reference to a web page containing same.
Applicants are responsible for obtaining the approval of the relevant “authorized
representative” (Sponsored Programs officer, budget officer, research officer,
etc.) at their institution.
Trish Jerman, SUI Program Manager
c/o Room 702G, Byrnes Building
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
In addition, to facilitate the review process,
please email a copy to your school's Principal Investigator,
or, in the case of Phase II schools, to your school’s designated SUI
Fellow. (Emailed copies are not expected to have signatures on
the cover sheet). Address questions to Trish Jerman, 803.777.7760,
or jerman "at"sc.edu.