The Office of Sustainability (OoS) is excited to announce the launch of the WashU Sustainability Fund! The Sustainability Fund offers WashU staff and faculty the opportunity to submit campus sustainability project ideas for funding consideration. If approved, applicants will receive funding up to $2500 to implement the proposed project. Upon completion of the project, OoS will reimburse the applicant’s department. Department supervisors must approve projects before they are initiated. Due to fund and capacity limitations, not every submission can be chosen for the Sustainability Fund. We are excited to hear your ideas! Staff and faculty from all WashU campuses are encouraged to apply. Student projects that meet the fund criteria may also be proposed. 

Submissions are divided into two categories. Category 1 includes projects that can be managed by the applicant and are generally a one-time investment. Category 2 includes projects of a larger scope that may require the involvement of additional stakeholders and one-time or continued investment. If selected, the OoS will provide support with identifying partners and a project pathway.  

The deadline for submissions is February 7, 2024. The OoS will be in contact with you by February 16 to let you know if your submission has been chosen. We anticipate funding will be available March 1st.  

If an application is accepted for funding, the OoS will work with the project team to finalize an implementation timeline. To receive the reimbursement, itemized receipts and proof of project completion must be submitted. Proof of completion may be dependent on the project type. After these conditions have been met and approved by the Sustainability Fund Review Committee, the applying department will be reimbursed for project expenses up to the offered amount. Please allow up to four weeks for the reimbursement to be processed.   

Priority will be given to projects that take into account: 

  • Projects that are within your department’s scope and realm of influence to ensure implementation 
  • Reduction of university greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and/or water use 
  • Benefits and/or enhances access for a diverse set of university stakeholders  
  • Longevity and breadth of project impact 

Examples of eligible projects: 

Category 1:  

  • The OFMD custodial department purchased re-usable laundry bags to replace single use plastic laundry bags across the medical campus, which significantly reduced plastic use.  
  • The Commencement Office purchased large outdoor water dispensers to eliminate single use water containers for large events like Commencement.  

Category 2:  

  • The Danforth campus reusable to-go container program. This was proposed by students for student dining and had a significant impact on waste avoidance. The project required input, approval and funding from multiple stakeholders.  
  • A surgeon wanting to implement a new waste stream collection in the operating room with on-going educational trainings and signage.  

Examples of projects that would not be funded: 

  • Funds for speaker honoraria –> The sustainability fund is intended for high impact operational initiatives or recurring programming, not one-time events.  
  • Covered bike parking proposed by an active commuter –> Covered bike parking is expensive and requires a high degree of coordination between numerous departments. Without existing support and collaboration with an entity like Parking & Transportation or the Facilities department, this project cannot move forward.   
  • Updating the sprinkler systems so sprinklers do not run while it’s raining, as proposed by an employee not connected with Grounds office –> The scope of this project rests fully within the grounds team and there are numerous considerations being factored into decisions on how the system runs. If there is not conversation prior to the proposal and no collaboration with Grounds, this would not be an eligible project. 
Recording of Sustainability Fund info session.