Hello and welcome to Sustainable CU. Here you'll find history, guidelines, and proposals of the Sustainable CU Grant Program. Thank you for your commitment to improving sustainability on CU's campus! If you have questions, please email eboard@colorado.edu.

The Environmental Improvement Initiative

In the spring of 2005, students voted to dedicate a portion of student fees to implement on-campus sustainability projects that reduce the University's impact on climate and environment. The fees allocated for these efforts make up the Sustainable CU Fund, which can be used for projects involving renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, and other innovative sustainability solutions.

The Environmental Center, which administers the Sustainable CU Fund, is looking in particular for projects created and led by students. 

Request for Proposals 2019-20

The Environmental Center approves grants in two categories: small grant of $2,500 or less, and large grants of more than $2,500.

There is one Sustainable CU Grant Application for both small and large grants. 

Sustainable CU Grant Application

Small grants are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the academic school year (September through April), with the Environmental Board typically considering the grants within the following week of its submission.

Large grants are reviewed twice during the academic year, once from September 1 to October 31 and again from January 1 to February 28. Due to a finite budget and the University fiscal year, Fall submissions may have a higher chance of receiving funding. Spring applications and reapplications are still encouraged!

When a grant is approved, applicants will enter into a grant funding agreement with thei Environmental Center to confirm the length of the project, its measurable benefits, and appropriate times to report its progress.

Per CU Student Government bylaws, Sustainable CU funds are allocated 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 initiative." Essentially, funds must be used exclusively for the physical supplies, promotion, and hired labor associated with the initiatives they are supporting. 

Therefore, Sustainable CU does not fund:

  • Applicant labor

  • Academic endeavors (e.g. honors theses, capstone projects)

  • Seed-funding for business development

  • Exclusive groups

  • Off-campus projects

  • Events

  • Recurring project costs

If you have any questions about whether your project qualifies, please e-mail eboard@colorado.edu.

The application is a Google Form. You will lose your progress if the page reloads, so develop your answers on a separate document and copy them into the application.

Sustainable CU Grant Application

View pending and past grant applications here.

Small grants program (up to $2,500)   

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.

Large grants program (over $2,500) 

Application guidelines and instructions for large grants, in a Microsoft Word document that can be used as a template, may be downloaded by clicking here.

The application guideline document contains eligibility, requirements, submission format, and evaluation criteria and timeline information.  If desired, this budget template can be used and submitted as an appendix to proposals (saved first as a PDF and attached with the completed application).  Large Grant application, budget and attachments are submitted by email before posted deadlines to ecenter@colorado.edu.

View pending and past large grant applications here.


Funded Projects


Small Grants ($2500 or less)

Large Grants



Small Grants ($2500 or less)

Large Grants



Small Grants ($2500 or less)

Large Grants



Small grants ($2,500 or less):

Large grants ($2,500 or more): 



Small grants ($2,500 or less):

Large grants ($2,500 or more):


Small grants ($2,500 or less):

  • CU Biodiesel Mobile Processor, $2474
  • Garden to Table at C4C, $2489
  • Laundry Racks, $586
  • Flammable Materials Freezer, $1899

Large grants ($2,500 or more): 

  • Athletics Food Freezer, $3585
  • Pollinator Gardens, $147,215
  • Green Chemistry Fund, $2639
  • Darley Commons Greenhouse Equipment, $118,000 (In Progress)
  • Lean Path food waste reduction, $16,883 (In Progress)



Small grants ($2500 or less) 

  • CUskills.com 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 grants (under $2500)

Large grants (over $2500)   



Small grants (under $2500)

Large grants (over $2500)



Large grants ($2,500 or more)


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



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