Sustainability Fund

General Funding Guidelines

The Sustainability Committee has issued general working guidelines for those interested in obtaining a Sustainability grant. 

Pre-Submission Considerations

1. Facilities Management Protocols

If your project involves changes to campus spaces, has a direct impact on maintenance/upkeep, or requires special permitting, you are expected to contact Facilities Management to discuss your project and to address this contact in your proposal. Successful proposals will have the approval of the appropriate Facilities Management supervisor before submission.

2. Internships

If you are proposing an internship experience you are strongly advised to consult with the Center for Career & Professional Development and/or Director of Academic Internships, Mary Claire Angle ’07, before you submit your proposal.

3. Nonprofit & Community Agencies

If you are proposing to do community-engaged work set up for you by a nonprofit or community agency, you must provide contact information for that agency in your proposal. You are strongly advised to consult the Office of Community-Engaged Learning before you submit your proposal. 

4. On-Campus Sponsors

Student applicants are required to select a faculty or staff sponsor to assist with their projects. Faculty and staff applicants do not need an on-campus sponsor for their project.

5. Safety Protocols

If your project may raise concerns about safety, you must outline the protocols you will put in place to ensure well-being. You are strongly advised to consult with Michael Delance in the Safety Office before you submit your proposal.

6. Senior Applicants

Students who are applying during their final semester at Southwestern are required to have a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year Southwestern student co-author their grant application in order to ensure continuity of their project post-graduation. Funding will not be awarded to senior applicants without a co-author.

7. Use of Human or Animal Subjects

If your project involves human or animal research subjects, it may require approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Please read their policies and procedures, and determine whether or not your project must be approved by the IRB prior to submission. 

Steps in the Application Process

The Sustainability Committee reviews each project based on its own merits in a competitive process. Currently, there are no quotas or limits on the number of times you may submit funding requests.

You are strongly encouraged to contact members of the Sustainability Committee for advice and suggestions as you prepare your application. Your proposals (both pre- and full-) should include information pertinent to your project, be neatly typed and error-free, and submitted through the provided Google form

  1. Complete and submit the pre-proposal application by the deadline. All sections of the form must be completed to be considered. Students should allow plenty of time to make revisions and to consult with their sponsor.
  2. Once submitted, the Sustainability Committee will consider and evaluate all funding requests. Approved pre-applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. 
  3. The full proposal application form will provide question prompts regarding your proposal. You should answer all questions within the prescribed word limit. Successful proposals provide sufficient detail to allow a thorough understanding of the proposal, without being cumbersome or tedious.
  4. Your full proposal will also include a detailed budget narrative describing all costs/expenses. This spreadsheet must include the cost of each item/service being purchased, including any shipping expenses. See Budget Request Instructions below for more information.
  5. The Sustainability Committee will determine which requests are to be funded and the dollar amount of each grant.  

S.A.F.E. funds will not typically be approved for activities that take place primarily off-campus and have little or no benefit to Southwestern University, such as tuition at other colleges or universities, external internships, or professional field experiences. Applications should explain the merits of their project (why it deserves funding) if it takes place off-campus. All proposals should have a measurable and direct impact on the Southwestern community. 

Snead Institute Sustainability Funds are designated for student research projects, on or off campus, that relate to environmental science or environmental policy.

Budget Request Instructions

When submitting your budget narrative in the full-proposal application, you should compile an itemized list of all expenses for your project and include the total dollar amount of funding requested. Below are general notes/regulations on budget requests. 

Conference Travel

Eligible faculty and staff mentors may apply for up to $1,200 and students up to $700
each, regardless of whether the travel is domestic or international.  This amount includes registration, lodging, food, etc.


You can request up to $30/day for food.


You can request up to $175/night for lodging.  

Housing (On Campus)

Shared housing on campus for students engaged in summer projects at Southwestern are eligible for funding. You will need to contact the Office of Residence Life for information on expenses related to summer lodging on campus. Please include housing in the budget submitted with your funding request.

For any student who lives off-campus at the time that funding is requested and has an unbreakable lease in place, Southwestern will reimburse an amount equivalent to the cost of shared on-campus summer housing. Evidence of the lease must be provided. Students who do not have existing housing commitments will be expected to live on campus.  


Most funding requests include itemized expenses, but some projects include a stipend. Stipends are most appropriate for projects involving unpaid experiences or on-campus research. 

  • Faculty stipend — $500 per week for up to eight weeks, $4,000 maximum for eight-week
  • Student fellowship — $375 per week for full-time work (40 hours per week) up to eight weeks, $3,000 maximum for eight-week projects. 


Southwestern University is a tax-exempted institution, therefore taxes should not be included in the budget narrative.  

Vehicle Expense

If you will use your personal vehicle, calculate your vehicle expense by multiplying the total number of miles you will drive by the IRS standard mileage rate ($0.67/mile for 2024). If you do not own the vehicle, estimate your fuel expense and enter that amount. Regardless of vehicle ownership, include estimated parking expenses. 

If you are selected to receive a Sustainability grant:

You will be contacted by a member of the Sustainability Committee if your project is selected. You will then work with the Business Office to arrange the disbursal of your funds. Please note the following policies: 

The Committee will prepay as many items on your budget as possible. For most items that cannot be prepaid, you must bring receipts for reimbursement. Mileage is an exception to this policy; no receipts are required. Instead, you must submit the total number of miles driven. 

You will be required to submit a summary report at the conclusion of your project. This report could take several forms, including, but not limited to campus presentation, journal entry, written report, etc. Reports should be sent to the Sustainability Committee co-chairs.