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Dining Services introduces compostable tableware

Speakers discuss recycling, composting practices

Univ. to add more LED lights on campus

University begins using ‘recycled content’ paper

Facilities staff shares impact of Turn It Off day program

SCC brighter and more energy efficient after $200,000 lighting project

Brandeis Sustainability Ambassadors act as student resource

New Solar Panels on Library Double Solar Power Generated at Brandeis University

Students compete in sustainability contest to learn, improve habits and win prizes

President Liebowitz joins leaders in supporting Paris climate accord

Brandeis University to Install 1.3 MW Solar Array to Save up to $2M in Energy Costs Over 20 Years

Brandeis reaches campus sustainability milestone as initiatives continue

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Brandeis Sustainability Fund

BSF logo

What is the Brandeis Sustainability Fund?

The Brandeis Sustainability Fund (BSF) 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, 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.

Does BSF work with any classes?

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 2019-2020 applicants


2019-2020 Materials

All forms & questions should be sent to 


Is there a limit to how much BSF will provide? 

BSF receives approximately $50,000 per year in student fees, which rolls over if funds are not allocated to projects (or if not many projects are proposed). The highest amount that has ever been awarded to a BSF project was $90,000 for the Shapiro Campus Center LED lighting project in 2018. 

Note that the BSF committee can decide to fund projects at below or above requested levels.

Can I apply for funds to cover a portion of an event, such as food or screening fees?

Yes! Events related to sustainability are part of the scope of BSF.

What if I have an idea, but I'm not sure how to find an undergraduate partner or other group to help with it?

Contact the Senate Sustainability Committee (SenSus) and/or Mary Fischer (mfischer (at) to get help finding others to help with your idea.

Can I apply even though I'm not an undergraduate student?

BSF is open to any group with at least one undergraduate student! 

How are projects decided?

Each semester, a board of equal numbers of faculty/staff and students review and discuss the proposals according to the scoring matrix above. 

Other questions? Contact Mary Fischer (mfischer (at)!

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Previous BSF Recipients

Compostable items at Springfest

Every spring, Brandeis hosts the music festival Springfest, which includes food vendors. Springfest organizers applied for funds to purchase compostable cups and plates for all students to promote sustainability.


Proposed by the Brandeis Student Union Senate Sustainability Committee, this project will provide reusable water bottles to the incoming class of 2023, as well as stickers for others on campus who already have water bottles. The program includes the Fill it Forward app, with which students can scan their bottles/stickers each time they refill their bottle, and Cupanion will donate water to people in need.

Water fountains

This project will increase the number of water bottle filling stations around campus. Priority locations for the installation of fountains will be in freshman and sophomore residence halls.


Stickers promoting tap water and reusable water bottles will be given out to members of the Brandeis community this spring and next fall.


SaveOhno will be coming back for a third year in 2020 as our annual sustainability competition. 


Plant Power: Sodexo chef training by a vegetarian chef (<$3,700)
Eliana Koehler, Shalom Krinsky, Lily Swartz, Cody Smith, Tamar Lieberman

This project is meant to address what seems is sometimes a lack of variety and quality in vegan food offered by Sodexo on campus. Chef Pradhan of Watertown’s own Red Lentil restaurant will work with Sodexo to help them expand their vegetarian/vegan menu and add exciting recipes to it. The goal is to encourage our student body to eat more plant-based  food and to more comfortably transition and adhere to plant-based diets, ultimately improving the dining halls’ environmental impact as well as its impact on the treatment of animals.

SaveOhno ($3,000)
Sage DeChiara, Tamar Moss

The purpose of SaveOhno is to raise awareness about environmental issues and to engage students in actions that increase the school’s sustainability, as well as to increase their knowledge of their personal ability to have an impact. By providing incentives  for students to do small things that decrease their carbon footprint and water usage over the course of a couple weeks, we hope to instill more sustainable habits within the student body. Building off of feedback from the SaveOhno pilot run this fall, we would like to expand the competition to be more relevant to our campus by incorporating actions that exist with more pre-existing clubs and campus events. Through this competition, we will not only show students how they can live more sustainably by themselves, but also show them how they can be involved with environmental action on campus in the long-run.
People Towels ($1,470)

Spencer Taft, Elyse Hahn, and Anke Larsen-Yskamp

Our mission is to reduce paper towel waste in as many small ways as there are students: by distributing free high quality, eco-friendly hand towels from the company People Towels and promoting sustainable hand-drying practices through flyers featuring our mascot, Petey the Towel Owl.

Green Space (<$1,500)
David Dropkin, Lorraine Jemal, Shana Criscitiello

Our mission with creating a GreenSpace involves creating a space for students to come and study in the presence of greenery and growing plant life. Living plants in the work and study space have proven to not only increase test scores*, enhance focus, and eliminate toxins from the air we breathe, but also provide great relief for seasonal affective disorder. During the gray months of New England winters, our GreenSpace offers the rejuvenation that many students need.

Brandeis Earth Day (new budget pending)
Aynsley O’Neill, Paige Hildebrand, Eli Lovich

Perhaps the most crucial part in helping Brandeis become a more environmentally just University is increasing community involvement. It is difficult to have sustainable practices existing without support or acknowledgement from students, faculty, and staff. We believe that one of the major reasons programs have low participation is due to a lack of promotion, interest, and relevance. Our project aims to disrupt the normal day-to-day of the University to get the entire campus thinking about how we can make our home the forefront of  sustainability. We plan to do this through a day full of actions and events from clubs, academic departments, and other campus organizations. We believe that by dedicating one day to making environmental justice inescapable on this campus, it will spread knowledge and encourage us all to make environmentally focused changes in our lives and communities.

Charles River Grad Housing Energy Efficiency (approx. $40,000)

Oliver Price

The goal of this project is to reduce the electricity consumption of Charles River Grad Housing during the winter, since the heating there is all electric, and there are currently no controls whatsoever on heating. For example, the heat can go as high as students want in winter, and they can leave it on all day while they are not in their rooms. We propose using Telkonet, an energy efficiency technology provider that specializes in controlling heating and air conditioning equipment in lodging, such as hotels and residence halls. This proposal would fund the installation of their network and thermostats in Charles River building 111 (the smallest of the 4), to test their solution and determine if it would pay back to install in the rest of the buildings.

Winterizing and Sustaining the Rooftop Farm (<$3,450)
Charlotte Lang, Anna Sherman, Grace Berry

The main goal of our project is to winterize the rooftop farm. We want to help implement sturdier cold frames over part of the rooftop farm. This will help extend the fall growing season as well as allow the Farmers’ Club to begin planting earlier in the season. This project will continue the immense benefits of rooftop farms throughout the year. Our project can help create more crops for the multitude of organizations and charities the Brandeis Farmers’ Club currently donates to and create more discussion about local agriculture and food justice. In addition, by producing more crops to sell our project can help the Brandeis Farmers’ Club better sustain its’ monetary needs in the future. 
Green Move-Out ($3,000+, pending additional information)
Alexandra Aldridge, Cameron Bechmann, Victor Bianchi, Candice Ji, Lauren Rubinstein

This program aims to reduce the amount of waste our campus produces at the end of the year. Green Move-out encourage students to recycle their possessions through education and convenience. By making it easy to donate, students can effortlessly give back to the Waltham community as well as learn how their possessions can be reused and recycled.

Zero Waste Events Pilot (<$1,475)
Tammy Botteri

The goal of this project is to help increase waste diversion at our catered events, facilitate zero waste events on campus, and support the ongoing education of our community regarding waste diversion. In general, to have zero waste events on campus, 2 components are necessary (which we are proposing): the infrastructure, which are the correct waste bins, and staff at  events to help people sort waste & ensure that it is done right. This project would provide both of those components—the waste bins permanently for our Facilities staff to use instead of cardboard boxes, and the green event workers on a pilot   basis for the semester, to be made available at catered events with 75-100 people or more that do not already have wait   staff (who typically help sort waste at events).

Food for Thought: Pilot reusable containers at Sub Connection (<$700)
Dylan Quinn, Kayla Shepherd, Sophie Edelman, Jeremy Goodsnyder, Aaron Stone, Eleanor Kelman, Leigh Salomon

This project aims to reduce waste on campus while simultaneously reducing Brandeis’ carbon footprint by providing students with reusable green boxes for use at Sub Connection. By working in coordination with Sodexo’s management staff, this will first be initiated as a two-week trial period during the spring of 2018 to assess the success of the reusable option. After determining the project’s impact, we will then continue to work with Sodexo’s management staff to implement the reusable green boxes permanently at Sub Connection as well as at any future vendors in Upper Usdan.

Heller Composting (<$600)
Mitali Pinto, Meredith Marx, Elizabeth Keeffe, Shai Dinnar

Our goal is to increase awareness around the importance of composting and divert a significant amount of food waste from landfills through a successful composting program at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, which maintains a mission of social change and a core value of environmental sustainability.

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 Table

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."


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 for more historical fund recipients and examples of successful proposals.

Steps to a Successful Application

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. 


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: 


  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.