Sustainable CU

The Environmental Improvement Initiative:

In the spring of 2005, students voted to dedicate a portion of student fees to implement on-campus projects incorporating renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, and other innovative projects to reduce the University of Colorado Boulder campus¹ impact on climate and environment.   Sustainable CU funds are used for: capital investment, the purchase of infrastructure necessary for the initiatives, installation of capital projects, educational displays related to the capital projects, and any other non-staff operating costs associated with the initiatives.  Particular attention is paid to initiatives created and led by students.  The Sustainable CU fund is administered by the Environmental Center.   Examples of previously funded projects are listed below.

Request for Proposals 2015-2016 

Approximately $150,000 is expected to be available for disbursement in two funding cycles depending on the size of the project. 

Small grants program (up to $2,500)  
Applications are accepted via online form for small scale projects requesting $2,500 or less. Small grants have a rolling deadline, so submit your application any time throughout the school year and Environmental Board will review it within the following weeks.

Small grants fund expenses such as infrastructure, contractor fees, consumables, and equipment rentals. Sustainable CU does not pay for applicants’ own labor. However, fees charged by third-party professionals, e.g., architects and electricians, are funded by the program.  Funded small projects must be fully executed within three months of the date of the award. An interim progress report must be submitted no later than six weeks after grant submitters have been notified that their project has been funded. Funding will be withdrawn if projects do not meet completion deadlines in the absence of a compelling written request for extension. A short final report is due once the project has been completed; 10% of funds will be withheld until the report is received. Guidelines for progress and final reports are available from the Environmental Center upon request.

Complete the online small grant application (or view it for additional information) by clicking here.

Large grants program (over $2,500)  
Large grant proposals are usually accepted and considered in two cycles each year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester.  For the current school year, large grant application deadlines are October 30th, 2015 and February 1st, 2016.

Current application guidelines and instructions will be posted here soon. 

For reference, you may download past years' large grant guidelines via this PDF template. This template contains past submission guidelines, including eligibility, requirements, submission format, timeline, and evaluation criteria.  Brief appendices could be attached in the past if necessary; responses could be copy-pasted from Microsoft Word into the PDF to keep indentations and formatting.  Budgets could be submitted in your own PDF format, or by using this budget template, saved as a PDF and attached with the completed application.  Template, budget and attachments were submitted in the past to

Funded Projects



In Progress:

  • Stressing Sustainability at Home, $1388
  • Interactive Campus Sustainability Tour App, $2500
  • CU Athletics Sustainable Snacks, $18,642
  • UMC Flameless Urns, $7550
  • Campus Sustainability Portfolio Publication, $7200





  • Athletics Food Freezer, $3585
  • CU Biodiesel Mobile Processor, $2474
  • Garden to Table at C4C, $2489
  • Green Chemistry Fund, $2639
  • Laundry Racks, $586
  • Flammable Materials Freezer, $1899

In Progress:

  • Pollinator Gardens, $147,215
  • Lean Path food waste reduction, $16,883
  • Darley Commons Greenhouse Equipment, $118,000


Small grants ($2500 or less)

  • Equipment Sharing, $2,463.88
  • "The Art of Chasing Ice" Recording, $2,500
  • Boulder Food Rescue, $2,500 (on condition of Housing and Dining approval)

Large grants (above $2500)


Small grants ($2500 or less)

Large grants (above $2500)


Small scale grants (under $2500)

Large scale grants (over $2500)  



Small scale grants (under $2500)

Large scale grants (over $2500)



CU Swisscamp Photovoltaic Installation, funded by Sustainable CU 2008-09

University of Colorado Mountain Research Station Solar Installation, funded by Sustainable CU 2008-09


  • Bruce Campbell Art Project: Artist Bruce Campbell will create a recycled sculptural installation using salvaged materials from CU's construction and demolition process. The artwork will be displayed on campus, demonstrating CU's commitment to environmental protection and exemplifying closed-loop recycling. Award: $19,600.
  • Mobile Billboards: The blank space on the side of CU recycling vehicles will be used to promote recycling. These vehicles drive around campus all day, providing an opportunity to spread the word about the benefits of recycling. Award: $6,000.
  • Smart Strip Surge Protectors: This project is a pilot program testing the effectiveness of smart strip surge protectors inside dorm rooms. The surge protectors can be set to turn on and off at specific times, resulting in substantial energy savings. Award: $13,444.
  • Solar-Electric Recycling Vehicle Conversion: This project will transform an existing recycling vehicle into an educational, solar-electric vehicle that will continue to collect recyclable materials. Award: $15,193.
  • Composting and Recycling Containers: The capacity of the composting program in the UMC kitchen will be increased. Zero-waste Bins in Glenn Miller Ballroom Three permanent recycling structures will be installed in the Glenn Miller ballroom in order to facilitate zero-waste events and increase diversion rates in the UMC. Containers for cardboard will help with the recycling during student move-in. Award: $8,100.
  • Folsom Field Wind Project: Six wind turbines will be installed on the Folsom Field stadium as a highly visible demonstration project to show the viability of using wind turbines on the CU campus. Award: $90,195.
  • Occupancy Sensor Lighting Units: Occupancy sensors will be installed inside classrooms within the Hellems. Energy will be saved by ensuring lights are turned off when rooms are not in use. The engineering student group, SEVEN, will monitor the success of the program in order to determine the viability of developing similar projects in other buildings on campus. Award: $3,108


CU Biodiesel mobile unitESTER