University of St. Thomas Campus Sustainability Fund
The UST Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) is part of our University’s commitment to become climate neutral by 2035 as outlined by the UST Climate Action Plan.
We recognize the significant challenge of reaching climate neutrality and understand all greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) will not be completely eliminated in 25 years. UST will only reach neutrality with the use of GHG offsets. At present, UST is making significant purchases of wind energy earning the university renewable energy credits (RECs). RECs represent carbon offsets. However, these RECs alone will not be able to maintain an annual 4% reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions.
Purchasing carbon offsets is done through markets with the actual offset-funded projects being completed in remote locations. An opportunity for understanding and education is thereby missed by our community when the funded offsets are distant and not visible. The CSF gives our community an opportunity to offer funding of Mission-based offsets that are both visible and educational to our own community.
Mission-based offsets contribute to our common good by
- enhancing the University’s educational mission
- actively involving students and faculty in projects that repair damage caused by our GHG emissions
- supporting the vision, creativity and design capabilities of members of the UST community
- increasing local economic development, habitat protection, watershed protection and community education
- linking UST to not only neighboring but also distant communities through our VISION trips and departmental service projects abroad
The CSF will be funded from revenue equal to the market value of what GHG offsets are needed to complete any shortfall in our annual goal of a 4% reduction of GHG emissions. For the past two years, UST has achieved that goal. As long as we are achieving our goal of a 4% reduction, $50,000 annually is being donated to the fund from the UST Physical Plant. Once a year, applications are received by the CSF evaluation committee from students, faculty, and staff for funding of mission-based offsets. The application deadline for F13-14’s CSF application is Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 with an early application date of March 4th for those desiring feedback from the committee before the final application is due (see application for details). The CSF application deadline has changed and moved from fall semester to spring semester with awarded funds available for use on July 1st, 2013, the first day of the next fiscal year. If not all of the funds are awarded, there will be a fall application date of Friday, October 11th, 2013 for use of any remaining funds.
The CSF evaluation committee will evaluate and rank the submissions according to the following criteria:
- All funded projects must directly benefit and address sustainability at the University of St. Thomas campuses.
- All proposals for funds from the UST CSF must be submitted by a student, staff member, and/or faculty member at UST. Proposals may be submitted through one of these members of the UST community on behalf of a UST program, organization, office, or department. Individuals and organizations not directly affiliated with UST may not submit funding proposals.
- The project must be feasible and have support from any affected campus individuals and departments.
- Any funded project must include defined metrics for a clearly measurable outcome. These metrics will be used to evaluate the success of the project. Any funded long-term project plan must include a schedule of appropriate progress reports to the CSF based on the duration of the project. All funded projects must submit a final report within 60 days of the completion of the project. If a project has continuing benefits such as an annual cost savings or carbon reduction or educational benefit, the project plan should include plans for tracking, recording, and reporting such benefits back to the CSF on an annual basis for a minimum of 3 years. Submitters of any funded project plan who fail to complete progress or final reports are ineligible to receive any future funding from the CSF.
- Support will be primarily given for projects effective in offsetting greenhouse gases and reducing the campus footprint.
- Credit will be given for projects including student involvement and educational value to our community.
- Credit will be given for innovation and the potential for the project to be scalable across our campuses.
- Where applicable, preference will be given for proposals that include lifecycle costs, possible investment payback schedules and potential long-term savings.
It is the goal of the CSF evaluation committee to review all funding proposals by April 8th, 2013. All recommended projects are then given to the steering level for final approval and determination of the actual funding according to current available fund resources. Announcement of the CSF awards will be made no later than May 17th, 2013.
If enough funding is not available for an approved project, the evaluation committee will notify the project submitter of the funding limits along with recommendation for continuance of the project with a reduced budget when appropriate.
It is also the goal of the CSF evaluation committee to respond to all applications with comments, recommendations, and/or suggestions for how the project could be successfully resubmitted in future mission-based offset reviews.
F12-13 members of the UST Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) Committee are
- Natalie Ionescu, USG Student Sustainability Committee
- Suzanne Krzmarzick, Undergraduate Administration
- Aaron Macke, Director for Residence Life
- Lance Ramm, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, School of Engineering
- Jesse Stock, Green Team, USG Student Sustainability Committee Chair
- Kristine Wammer, Associate Professor of Chemistry Committee Chair
Previous funded projects
2012-13 Winning UST Campus Sustainable Fund proposals:
Public Safety Bike Patrol – Fully funded at $7,617.88
Enhancements to the UST Stewardship Garden – Fully funded at $4,124.75
Nice Ride 2012 – Fully funded at $20,000.00
Service learning to increase visibility of UST Sustainability – Partially funded at $5,600.00
Expansion of UST On-Campus Composting Initiative – Fully funded at $3,500.00
2011-12 Winning UST Campus Sustainable Fund proposals:
Restoration of Oak Forest– Fully funded at $15,000
Delivering Green – Fully funded at $21,000
Hydration Stations Across UST – Partially funded at $14,000