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.  Campus members will be limited to receiving one grant per year.


Phase I & II Projects have been funded and have been completed or currently being implemented.

Successful Sustainability projects that have been supported by the Fund (Phase I & II):
-Sustainable/Low-flow showerheads in Orchard Hill (link)
-UMass Minute Riders (link)
-New2U Reuse Tag Sale (link)
-Paperless Campus Recreation Program (link)
-Pollinator Hotels (PDF)
-Occupancy Sensors in Isenberg School of Management (PDF)
-Protect Our Breasts Yogathon (youtube video)
-Clothing Recycling Collection Boxes in CHC (PDF)
-Electronic Recycling in Residential Cluster Offices (Instagram video)
-PHOENIX Lifestyles Sustainable Apparel Initiative (Daily Collegian Story)
-North Apartments Compost Pilot Program (PDF)

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)

Application: The deadline of APRIL 3, 2016 has passed and the Fund is currently closed to new applications for the remainder of the academic year.
Option 1: Submit an online application form.*
*This is a google form and cannot be saved before completing, so make sure you have all of your information with you before beginning the application.

Option 2: 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