Green Grants Guidelines
NYU Green Grants fund an array of projects that aim to improve the university’s sustainable operational performance, increase environmental literacy, foster community engagement, advance applied research and design, and demonstrate the viability of emerging practices and technologies for sustainability. At the Office of Sustainability, we define sustainability as addressing the needs of future generations while meeting our current needs, by recognizing and respecting nature’s limits socially, economically, and ecologically.
This application guide is meant to help you understand the process of applying for a Green Grant, what we are looking for in a project, and provides advice on how to submit the strongest possible proposal.
Microgrant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and Green Grant applications are accepted on a semesterly basis. The deadlines for the mandatory preliminary Expression of Interest (EOI) can be found on the Green Grants webpage.
1.3 EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI)
Prospective applicants must submit a brief preliminary Expression of Interest, which outlines the concept, scope, and budget of a project you are considering submitting as a full proposal. After submitting an EOI, applicants will be prompted to schedule a consultation. Program staff reviews EOIs, often with support from the current year's Green Grants Committee when necessary. During the consultation, program staff will provide feedback for EOIs and answer any questions a grantee may have before submitting a proposal.
EOI feedback is designed to highlight obstacles that applicants should address before submitting full proposals, suggest dialogue between applicants developing similar or synergistic ideas, and share initial reactions to the scope and intent of applicants’ projects. EOIs also enable program staff to connect applicants with relevant university experts, administrative decision-makers, and other useful resources.
Projects that pilot innovative ways to improve material, physical, or infrastructural elements at NYU, from food services to energy reduction. Please note that proposed projects that alter the physical structure of any NYU building (i.e. roofs, windows...etc.) fall outside the scope of the Green Grants program and are not eligible for funding.
Activities that foster a campus culture of sustainability, such as efforts to improve environmental literacy, advance environmental justice, and stimulate behavior change and activism.
RESEARCH & DESIGN
Research or design projects that create new sustainability opportunities. These projects must be integrated with the university campus or community through use of NYU as a test-bed for data collection, or by producing deliverables with potential to catalyze operational, academic, or cultural change at NYU. “Living Lab” projects are encouraged as they cyclically engage both data collection and application. Entrepreneurial ideas typically fall under this category, and both for-profit and non-profit ventures are eligible.
Projects which improve the university’s capacity for educating around sustainability, including curricular initiatives. We highly recommend that faculty are involved in these projects.
Grants may also explore any combination of the above categories.
STEP 1: Understand grant policies and application procedure by thoroughly reviewing this guide.
STEP 2: Submit an EOI and schedule a consultation before your intended proposal submission date.
STEP 3: Once you’ve received feedback on your EOI, make the appropriate edits and craft your proposal. Further consultation may be available where possible.
STEP 5: Once you have received notice that your grant has been awarded, schedule a contract signing meeting with the Office of Sustainability.
STEP 6: Once you've signed the contract, you will review the Green Grant Purchasing Guide and can begin working on your project. Budget tracking sheets will be updated throughout your grant.
STEP 7: Document your project. You may be asked to submit documentation to be featured on our blog and other promotional materials.
FINAL STEP: At the end of your project, submit your final report detailing the progress made, achievements, and impact as indicated by the metrics stipulated in your proposal.
3.2 POINTS TO TAKE NOTE OF
- Because NYU is a large and decentralized institution, be prepared to work closely with the Office of Sustainability and supportive administrative units to navigate the necessary protocols at NYU.
- Large-scale Green Grant projects may require fine-tuning before implementation. In some cases, a Green Grant may be awarded a Microgrant as conditional funding.
- It is not the intent of the Green Grants Selection Committee to alter the essential goals or outcomes of a submitted proposal without the willing consent of the project’s leader. If proposed modifications are found to be unworkable, applicants should withdraw the proposal from that round of funding and consider resubmitting it in another round.
To be considered for funding, your project proposal must include the following…
- PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION - You must identify the sustainability problem(s) or issue(s) addressed by your project. These can be concrete environmental problems like waste or energy consumption, or more abstract problems like a lack of education around or participation in a sustainability issue.
- PROJECT TEAM EXPERTISE - You (and your team members, if applicable) must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to execute the entire project. For example, your project team must include architects if your project involves siting a structure on or outside of a building. The project leader(s) must be the lead implementer(s) of the grant, carrying out the majority of the project and possessing a working knowledge of all aspects. Additional team members may play important roles and be paid for their work in some cases (see funding policies), but should be incorporated as auxiliary implementers. Students are highly suggested, but not required, to work with a staff or faculty member that can act as an advisor throughout the duration of the project.
- IMPACT MEASUREMENT PLAN - You must include a plan for measuring the effect(s) of your project in relation to the sustainability problem(s) your project addresses. You must also assess your project’s environmental impact and indicating what measures you’ll be taking to minimize it.
- SUPPORTING MATERIAL AND RESEARCH FOR IMMEDIATE START - You should have already thoroughly researched your project so that if it is awarded, you can begin immediately. IF your project is contingent on having permission to collaborate with another entity, you must include a letter of support from affiliated departments or institutions. E.g. If you want to get a compost tumbler for Third North Residence Hall, you need to include a letter of support from the appropriate Third North personnel indicating that you will be able to carry out this project and that the building is suitable.
- PROJECT LEADER PROOF OF ABILITY (STUDENTS ONLY) - Each project will have at least one project leader responsible for submitting several check-in reports. The project leader(s) is required to submit a resume or letter of reference that demonstrates their diligence, responsibility, and ability to carry out an unsupervised, year-long project. Staff and faculty project leaders are welcome, but not required, to submit letters of support or reference.
5.1 APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY
- Project Leaders must be current NYU students, faculty, administrators or staff. Students are required to plan projects that end at least one month before their expected graduation date. Students must remain at the same campus for the duration of their grant.
- All NYU sites within the Global Network University are eligible for Green Grants, and must have an administrator as the project lead.
- Eligible applicants may apply together as co-project leaders if they have similar degrees of responsibility within a proposed project.
- All microgrant team members must be internal to NYU and partner with an administrative department within the University for funding disbursal.
- For larger grants, alumni, community organizations, and interested neighbors are permitted and encouraged to collaborate as members of project teams.
- No person may be a project leader on multiple open grants.
- Past Green Grant recipients are ineligible to apply again until they have completed all terms of their prior Green Grant. Students are limited to receiving funding for two green grants during the duration of student tenure at NYU.
- There is no limit to the number of times a project may be proposed for funding.
Proposed Microgrant projects may total $3,000 at maximum and Green Grant budgets may total $20,000 at maximum. All budgets must list individual line-items, and thus cannot contain categorical slush funds such as "gardening supplies” (e.g. list out mulch, hoses, seeds, etc.). Note that all line-items listed on your proposal’s budget will stand as maximum spending limits if a grant is awarded; for example, if you are listing refreshments for a presentation in your budget, your spending on refreshments for that presentation will be capped at the value listed on your budget.
The following policies apply to all Green Grants:
- Outside experts, speakers, mechanics, etc. who are not affiliated with NYU can be paid for their services.
- Faculty and staff who already draw a wage at NYU cannot be paid any kind of honorarium or wage.
- Faculty and staff may hire casual student workers if they or a sponsoring department can take responsibility for supervision and approving timesheets. Green Grants staff cannot supervise or sign student timesheets. The Office of Sustainability asks that faculty and administrators new to supervising student employees review Guidelines for Student Employee Supervisors before taking on this responsibility.
- Tools and equipment, such as water meters, textbooks for curriculum development, shovels, etc. so long as they are demonstrably integral to the project.
- Promotional products or giveaways may not be the core aspect of a Green Grant project. These items are allowable only if justified as bolstering a core aspect of a project (e.g. materials that promote awareness or attendance for a core initiative).
5.3 PROPERTY OWNERSHIP
PHYSICAL/STRUCTURAL PROJECT DELIVERABLES
All physical materials purchased under Green Grants must be permanently installed and remain parts of projects for their lifetimes or be returned to the Office of Sustainability after the grant term.
- You should state in your proposal which of these two options you believe makes the most sense for your project.
- When grants are awarded, ownership terms specific to each project are finalized and become part of the Grant Agreement.
- New York University will not make claims to Intellectual Property, earned revenue, or equity on the basis of providing funding through Green Grant awards.
- The university does reserve the right to freely distribute media and information about projects’ impact as shared in final reports submitted by grant recipients.
- Materials which are generated through Green Grants sponsorship must recognize the university’s support (specific language will be provided).
5.4 GRANT SELECTION COMMITTEE
The Green Grants Selection Committee is assembled with representation from sustainability experts across university administration, faculty, and student stakeholder groups. The Green Grants Program requires consensus among Selection Committee members to award a grant.
Q. What is an EOI? How is it different from a full proposal?
A: The Expression of Interest (EOI) is a document that outlines the concept at an earlier stage in development than the full proposal, though they can also be a “dry run” of the proposal. Unlike proposals, EOIs are non-binding and do not require line-item budgets.
Q. Can I give myself an honorarium as part of my budget?
A. Honoraria can only be paid to individuals who are not affiliated with NYU.
Q. Can I pay for food?
A. Food may be purchased when it is integral to your project’s realization. It would be acceptable if your project is about food justice and culminates in an award ceremony with sustainable food, for example. Providing refreshments for volunteer labor is also acceptable. The quantity and price of food must be within reason and itemized on your budget with an explanation for each purchase.
Q. Can I contact the Office of Sustainability to ask questions?
A. Yes. If you have reviewed this guide and still have questions, please email email@example.com.
Q. If I am proposing a research grant, can I include travel, training and conference expenses?
A. This program is designed for applied project grants, not travel or conference funds. However, if travel or a conference presentation is integral to your project’s success or completion, exceptions may be granted for local travel.
Q. What is the difference between a project leader and a project team member?
A. Project leaders are the individuals responsible for the creation and implementation of the project, and for writing the mid-term and final reports. Projects often require extra people to help carry out aspects of the project, and these individuals are called project team members. Project team members do not need to meet our eligibility requirements.
Q. Can I ask for funding for my thesis, dissertation or faculty research?
A. Yes, so long as your project also adheres to all other criteria contained in this document.
Q. Can my project improve on something that has already been done before?
A. Yes. You should include a clear description of how and by how much your project differs from and improves upon preexisting initiatives.
Q. Can I count my Green Grant work as an independent study?
A. You may use Greens Grant funds in support of a thesis, dissertation research, course study or independent study, but you will still need a faculty sponsor as the Office of Sustainability is not the source of academic objectives, nor do we oversee them.