Skidmore College was excited to introduce the New Initiatives in Sustainability Fund last semester, a source of funding made available by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to support the Environmental Studies Program and Sustainable Skidmore. The fund supports both campus projects that address the three spheres of sustainability and provides funding to attend conferences and workshops that inform and facilitate campus community learning about sustainability.
The Sustainability Fund aims to broaden the understanding of sustainability and to advance sustainability efforts on campus by providing faculty, staff, and students with new experiential learning opportunities. The Sustainability Fund Review Committee, a group made up of faculty, staff, and students, reviews and awards proposals on a monthly basis. To be considered, each proposal must consider the economic, social, and environmental spheres of sustainability and address the specific set of guidelines that have been developed by the committee. In addition to meeting these requirements, the committee encourages proposals that have a broad or lasting impact on campus, introduce innovative ideas, or have been developed through collaborative partnerships between departments or individuals.
The Review Committee has awarded three proposals since the fund’s announcement last spring. Two of the three awards have helped fund conference attendance fees. One faculty member will be attending a sustainable hunting conference, the outcome of which will influence new course curriculum. The other award went to a student who will attend a tiny house conference. The learning from this conference will inform a facilitated community discussion on the current state of home ownership and cultural success metrics.
The third award went to a student group that implemented the new “Take a Mug, Leave a Mug” program. The program provides campus members with the opportunity to use a reusable mug when purchasing drinks on campus rather than a one-use, disposable cup. Individuals using one of the program’s mugs will receive a discount on their beverage, and when finished, they can drop the mug off at one of the three drop-off locations on campus. The dining hall staff washes the dirty mugs and redistributes them to The Spa, Atrium, and Burgess Cafés. The program has seen great success during the three-week trial run this past spring and we are excited to see it continue once the fall semester begins.
The Review Committee is excited to continue receiving innovative proposals that ultimately build community, collaboration, and an increased understanding of the complexity of sustainability. If you would like to learn more, please visit the Sustainability Fund page to access the New Initiatives in Sustainability Fund guidelines and application form.