Sustainability, Innovation & Engagement Fund (SIEF)

The fund was established in August 2013 to foster a strong culture of sustainability on our campus by incentivizing students, faculty, and staff involvement.  Any student faculty, staff, student group, academic class, or faculty/staff and student team can propose a sustainability project.  Individuals or groups on campus will be limited to receiving one grant per year.

YEAR 1 (2013-2014):


Successful YEAR 1 Sustainability projects that have been supported by the Fund:
-Sustainable/Low-flow showerheads in Orchard Hill
-UMass Minute Riders Bike Powered Compost Pick-Up Service
-New2U Reuse Collection & Tag Sale (returned $6,000 back into fund)
-Paperless Campus Recreation Program
-Occupancy Sensors in Isenberg School of Management
-Pollinator Hotels (report coming soon!)

YEAR 2 (2014-2015):

Phase II Projects have been selected for funding by the Chancellor's Sustainability Committee and Student Steering Committee:
New2U Reuse Collection & Tag Sale (year II, in progress)
-UMass Minute Riders Bike Powered Compost Pick-Up Service (year II, in progress)
-Electronic Waste Recycling Expansion at Residential Life Service Desks (in progress)
-Protect Our Breasts Earth Day Yogathon Event (Youtube video)
-NetImpact Clothing Recycling Pilot in Commonwealth Honors College (in progress)

-Compost Pilot Project in North Apartments (in progress)

Total Funds Being Allocated for Year II Projects: $15,155

YEAR 3 (2015-2016):
Applications will be accepted beginnning September 2015.  Please seee below for instructions on how to apply for the fund.


The fund accepts proposals for two types of projects:
Type 1: Projects that have a quantifiable economic payback and will refresh the fund over time
Type 2: Projects that don't have quantifiable payback but engage the campus community in reducing environmental impact or enriching student experience.
Financial Implementation Guidelines have been established by the Budget Office.  Please download and review here.

Grants will be awarded based on the following criteria:

  1. ALL proposals must demonstrate how the project will support activities that significantly engage the campus community and lead to progress on campus sustainability goals (Resource: Climate Action Plan v2.0)
  2. Type 1 project proposals (those with tangible cost savings) must have a payback of five years or less.
  3. Type 2 project proposals (those without tangible cost savings but have a social value) must demonstrate how the project engages the campus community in reducing environmental impact, enriches student experience, adds aesthetic value to campus, creates social equity, or increases environmental awareness and comprehension.
  4. All proposals must demonstrate a long-term value to the University.
  5. No proposal may exceed a quarter of the current value of the total fund.  Proposals cannot pay for faculty, staff, or student salaries or wages, or for the purchasing of carbon offsets or off-site renewable energy.
  6. A student designed grading rubric is used to rank the project proposals.  Only the top ideas will be proposed for funding.  (Resource: Grading Rubric)

Any new proposal won't be reviewed until Fall 2015.

Download the excel spreadsheet version of the application from Dropbox, fill it out completely, and email it to the Campus Sustainability Manager at

Other Campus Funding Opportunities:
If you are looking for support in developing an innovative business idea or product you should also consider submitting your proposal to the UMass Innovation Challenge, which awards over $65K annually during competitive events where students and recent alumni from all UMass campuses pitch innovative business plans...  Learn more here.

The UMass Amherst Libraries Sustainability Fund offers support to expand the Libraries’ collections, exhibits, and activities related to environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Examples of requests: speaker fee for campus event, DVD for campus/class screening, library databases, books, periodical subscriptions. Note: Requests to fund refreshments will not be honored. Contact Madeleine Charney, Sustainability Studies Librarian

Regional Funding Opportunities:
Cleantech Open is the oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator program, with the mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with ideas to solve our greatest environmental and energy challenges.  Cleantech Open Northeast is Directed by UMass Amherst alum! 
Learn more about Cleanteach Open Northeast here.

Questions about the Sustainability Fund:
Ezra Small
Campus Sustainability Manager
(413) 545-0799

Download the "Do You Have a Sustainability Related Question at UMass Amherst?" document for a list of contacts on campus to direct your questions to.