By Emerson Andrews, Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund coordinator
SCIF. You might have heard in the classroom. Or maybe you spotted it on a flyer during welcome week. If you are a member of the University community with an eye for sustainability and desire to make a difference, then you need to know SCIF: the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund.
Each semester, $2.50 of every students’ tuition goes to SCIF, and this fee is returned to the student body in the form of sustainable grants. These grants fund a diverse range of sustainable projects here on campus. Past SCIF grants have purchased solar panels, built a beehive network, and supported student research. Students, faculty, and staff can apply for the level of funding that best suits their project: small grants – for project costs of less than $1000; medium grants – for project costs between $1,000 and $10,000; and large grants – for project costs of more than $10,000.
SCIF is helpful for multiple reasons:
- Access to real money: The cost of our ideas can sometimes get in the way of project execution, but with SCIF, funding is no longer a hurdle.
- Work alongside first-rate professors: SCIF projects allow you to get to know your professors outside of the classroom.
- Build up that resume: Get real world experience before graduation. It’s always nice to have an extraordinary bullet point on your resume.
- Help campus become more sustainable: Your projects have the ability to influence University progress toward climate neutrality.
- Leave a legacy: Once you complete a SCIF project, you can walk away knowing that you helped make campus more sustainable.
No matter the project, the keyword for SCIF is sustainable. What does that mean? For the Sustainability Office, sustainability is ‘the integrated pursuit of social equity, environmental integrity, and economic security for current and future generations.’ For SCIF, a sustainable project is built along the guidelines, which are listed below, and is submitted according to the program deadlines.
- Greenhouse gas reductions
- Energy conservation
- Water conservation
- Sewage and storm water output reductions
- All types of pollution reduction
- Hazardous waste
- Solid waste
- Liquid waste
- Gaseous emissions
- Operations improvements that decrease environmental impacts
- Environmental procurement practices
- Environmental leadership development within the University
- Number of individuals with improved environmental literacy and increased levels of participation in conservation activities
- Education of and reputation building with surrounding community
- Projects that have quantifiable payback (financial, environmental, communal)
In one or more of the following ways:
- Community Programs
- Art Projects
SCIF aims to sponsor sustainable changes that you want to see on campus. Be creative. The applications are easy, and as the SCIF Coordinator, I am a great resource. The possibilities are endless.