Brandeis Sustainability Fund

BSF logoThe Brandeis Sustainability Fund provides financial support for Brandeis undergraduate students willing to undertake projects and/or activities to improve Brandeis’s environmental sustainability. Recognizing the importance of environmental stewardship for the future of Brandeis University and the larger global community, this fund provides a student driven funding mechanism that allows undergraduate engagement in the efforts to improve Brandeis’s overall environmental legacy. In time, the Brandeis Sustainability Fund (BSF) allows Brandeis University to actively pursue a more sustainable future for our campus and the community we live in, positioning the University as a leader in environmental sustainability.

BSF works closely with Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Sustainability of Brandeis and Community (AMST 191b), an Experiential Learning (EL) course taught by Prof. Laura Goldin. In this hands-on course, students explore strategies for creating healthy, resilient, environmentally sustainable communities in the face of increasingly daunting environmental challenges.

Students collaborate with university partners and community organizations and agencies to design and implement sustainability projects creating measurable benefits to the campus and local Waltham environment. The goal:  achieve sustainability success stories and change the face of the campus and local community.

The “Greening” course has been a source and incubator of many environmental improvements at Brandeis over the years, and has been a main source of proposals to BSF.

Information for 2017-2018 applicants

Statement of Interest due: Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017

Completed applications due: Thurs, Nov. 30, 2017

Awards will be announced during finals in December

2017-2018 Materials

Statement of Interest

Application

Project Scoring Matrix (used by the BSF board to score projects after applications submitted)

2014 BSF Constitution

Contact mfischer@brandeis.edu with any questions!

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Previous BSF Recipients

2016-2017

Greening the Festival of the Arts

Jamie Semel, Ingrid Schorr

"The Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts is one of the university’s largest community-wide events. Over four days it attracts nearly 5,000 audience members from on and off campus. Broadly, the theme of the festival this year is sustainability. We are encouraging arts projects in the festival to keep sustainability in mind and plan for what will happen to their materials after the festival. Funding will go toward printing our advertising materials on recycled content, using an alternative material to vinyl for printing our banners and reducing the festival’s energy consumption through alternative power sources whenever possible." 

Greener Dorms

Abby O'Brien, Matt Hoisch

"Our purpose is to educate students on how to live sustainably in residence halls.  As the drought persists in Massachusetts, Brandeis students need to know how to help conserve during their daily lives.  We have partnered with CAs to run hall events to give tips on how to conserve water, save energy and recycle efficiently.  Our goal is for people to learn how to do small things each day to reduce their environmental impact, and Brandeis’ impact overall.  We hope to purchase 5-minute shower timers and cold water laundry detergent to help make students aware of the length of their showers and to reduce their water and electricity usage."

Eat What You Take

Manjulika Das, Anna Dorosenkov, Matt Hoisch

"This project aims to engage Brandeis students to think about their food and food waste through food waste collection, analysis, and data display in the dining hall as well as outfitting the dining hall with more information about the impact of food waste on local, national, and global scales and easy ways to eat in a more sustainable fashion. Signage topics would include using less paper and plastic dining materials, encouraging people to take less food, trying food before you take it, and the environmental benefits of eating less meat. We also want to collect food waste every day for a week at lunch in Usdan Dining Hall and display the waste value on a poster that is updated daily to see if our presence has an effect of food waste over the course of the week. Furthermore, we want to add information about water input and carbon footprint for each food item next to the item labels already used in the Dining Hall to show how much water is needed to bring a food item from farm to plate."

Flip the Switch

Rabeya Hussaini, Lindsay Weiner, Miranda Lassar, Bec Sheinkopf, Xavier Nelson, Andrew Elmers, Ben Humbert, James Formigli, Xinran Xin

"The primary goal of our project, Flip the Switch, is to promote an environmentally conscientious student body through active participation that will benefit our university’s environment as well as its inhabitants. By developing a mobile application that will be easily accessible through iOS/Android app stores, Brandeis students will be able to download this app and view the campus through a different lens. Instead of tall buildings and albeit interesting architecture, students will see participating buildings in terms of how much energy they are wasting through empty rooms with lights left on.  Flip the Switch is meant to galvanize the Brandeis Student body by putting the power in their hands to volunteer by going around participating buildings and simply turning these lights off. By doing this, Brandeis University as an institution will save money on electricity bills and have a smaller carbon footprint and as a community will become more aware of the small ways we can take control of our environment to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle. Our goal is to foster a sense of pride that we as Brandeis students are capable of making a difference, and by creating this app to serve as a testament to this capability we can start students on a path towards other greening opportunities on and off campus just by showing them how much of a difference flipping one light switch can make."

No Misturns Only Cisterns

Sabrina Pond, Jeremy Goodsnyder, Eleanor Kelman, Kayla Shepherd

"The purpose of our initiative is to lessen Brandeis’ dependency on third party water sources, in the hopes of making the university a more sustainable campus. Brandeis University used 57,780,000 gallons of water over the past year (between June 2015 and May 2016) utilized from Waltham’s Water and Sewer Department, which costs a mind-boggling 1.5 million dollars. Unfortunately, this doesn’t even touch the surface of how much water the campus uses in other residential and academic buildings on campus. Relying on outside sources of water, including Waltham water, city water, and reservoirs, are only contributing to a global water problem. Historically, water’s misuse is prevalent and its cost is astronomical. The goal of “No Misturns Only Cisterns” is to take action to lessen our carbon footprint and the overuse of limited resources. We hope to do this by fixing the turbine battery circuit that powers the current cistern in Mandel."

Athletes Going Green

Minjee Lee, Patrick Flahive

"This project can be summed up in two moving parts. The first is to set and tackle a set of goals that will help decrease the community’s carbon footprint almost immediately. These goals are:

  • Eliminate plastic/paper cups from practice. 
  • Distributing recycling bins within each athletic teams locker rooms and adding a compost bin. 
  • Creating an educational trash, compost, and recycling diagram like the one found in Upper Usdan. 

The second part of this is to create consciousness within an existing student-athlete committee so that problems like these can continue to be identified and tackled in future years by student-athletes that care about addressing this problem."

Solar-Powered Picnic Tables

Sam Spiegel, Stephanie Strifert, Anna Dorosenkov, Manjulika Das, Leana Silverberg

"We aim to provide greener and more sustainable spaces on campus by installing solar-powered picnic tables in outdoor areas that are or would be frequently utilized by students and visitors as meeting or study spaces. Our first goal is to set these solar picnic tables up outside of the library or at the Fellows Garden. If they are successfully received by the Brandeis community, more tables could be added to other locations on campus. Not only would these offer great places to sit and study outdoors with or without electronics, but they would further showcase Brandeis’ aim towards becoming a more sustainable campus to prospective students, the community, and to our peers."

Water Filler Expansion Project

Jake Greenberg, Elijah Sinclair, Emily Thiem

"The overall goal of the Senate Sustainability Committee’s project is to increase the number of water fillers on campus and put them in more accessible and in-demand locations. This initiative is based on a semester long survey process by the Committee to increase student use of reusable water fillers and limit the purchase and use of plastic and other disposable mugs, bottles, cups. The resulting aim is to limit waste, improve student health, and build upon previous Brandeis Sustainability Fund initiatives (specifically Save-A-Latte from last year) by increasing student daily use of reusable water bottles."

2015-2016

Save-A-Latte, Sponsored by Students for Environmental Action (SEA)

  • This project curbs paper cup waste at Brandeis by providing free, custom-made, reusable mugs to students in 2016. In addition to reducing the volume of waste in our landfills, using reusable mugs lowers the cost of beverages and can save students an average of $161 a semester, which is an added incentive for bringing reusable mugs to class. Mugs will be distributed throughout 2016.

Project Pollinator

  • Notice the new garden on the hill by Science lot? The new meadow, planted in spring 2016, supports pollinators like honeybees and other pollinators. Native, perennial plants with overlapping bloom periods provide pollinators with continuous and diverse nutrition, the ideal habitat to sustain their populations on campus. Have a seat at the new bench for a view of the growing wildflowers.

Contact mfischer@brandeis.edu for more historical fund recipients and examples of successful proposals.


Application Details

First Steps:

1. Come up with a great green idea!

You can work alone- but often the best projects will have many minds helping work out the details. 

Guidelines:

All projects should relate to the improvement of the University’s environmental sustainability in at least one of the following areas:

  1. Energy conservation
  2. Water conservation
  3. Greenhouse gas reduction/renewable energy
  4. Waste minimization
  5.  Pollution prevention/reduction
  6.  Building design/construction
  7.  Landscape and Grounds
  8. Transportation
  9. Educational awareness/community engagement
  10. Environmental student leadership development

2. Research your idea   

All projects should be evaluated with regards to their short and long term impacts upon the following areas:

  1. Environmental Impact – in reference to the relevant areas indicated above.
  2. Community Impact – impact upon the larger Brandeis community, including students, faculty, staff and any potential impacts on the larger Waltham area.
  3. Operational Impact – effect upon day-to-day operations of the University, including emphasis on scalability and innovation.  

All projects should be evaluated both short and long-term on their financial viability including:

  1.  Cost-benefit analysis – effective use of funds
  2.  Potential financial risk
  3. Cost assumptions

All projects should be evaluated both long and short-term on their technical viability including:

  1. Feasibility of implementation on campus
  2. Any increased demand for resources
  3. Any increased demand for manpower/paid workers

3. Understand the Process: 

Eligibility 

  1. All students must be full or part-time Brandeis University undergraduate students in order to receive eligibility to submit a BSF Project Application.
  2. Students may submit a BSF Project Application as individuals or in groups. Each group must select a Project Leader to act as the primary point of contact with the BSF Board. The exact duties of the Project Leader and Group Members after funding are contingent according to each project’s needs.  
  3. No chartered or secured club or organization, or Student Union special projects receiving funding from the Student Union may apply for funding of an existing club/organization initiative or project. Chartered and secured clubs receive their funding from the Finance Board Allocations Fund, as outlined in the Brandeis Student Union Constitution, Article VI, Section 2, and are therefore not eligible to receive funding for their organization’s projects from the BSF. Clubs can give support to BSF Projects.