High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund

open dishwasher with dishes in kitchen

The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning recently completed renovations to its kitchen space, which included installing a new dishwasher, and purchasing new reusable items to reduce waste and environmental impact. The renovations were partially financed through the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund as a Direct action project.

Overview

The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund requests proposals that support the implementation of Princeton's Sustainability Action Plan, and contribute to creating a more sustainable, just and inclusive culture on campus, in service to humanity and the world.

Funding Guidelines

The fund welcomes, from across all disciplines, proposals for projects that use the campus and community as a living laboratory for teaching and research, and/or take direct action.

  • Campus and Community as Lab projects: Modest support is available for faculty research projects and enhancement of courses, and student research projects culminating in a junior paper, senior thesis, graduate thesis, or published work. All disciplinary approaches are welcome, especially those that combine the natural and applied sciences and humanities in creative ways.
  • Direct Action projects: One-time seed support is available for students, faculty and staff to pilot and assess new program components, communications, technologies,  products and materials, among other initiatives. Modest support is also available for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and conference participation for students.

Successful applications will be those that: 1) Test and evaluate interventions that solve for sustainability in personal and institutional decisions and behaviors on campus, with the potential for repeatability or scalability, and/or 2) Create impactful, tangible experiences with sustainability so that students graduate with the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors to become effective ambassadors for advancing sustainability in their communities and spheres of influence. 

Preference will be given to those proposals that seek to advance sustainability in a way that also explicitly advances environmental justice.

Each proposal should also address one or more of the following areas outlined in the Sustainability Action Plan:

  • Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to Net Zero: Accounting for campus growth, achieve carbon neutrality by 2046 — Princeton’s 300th anniversary — through the use of repeatable, scalable and innovative solutions.
  • Reduce Water Usage: Reduce water consumption both campus-wide and per person.
  • Increase Area Under Enhanced Stormwater Management: Expand the area on campus that meets high standards for improved surface water quality and reduced runoff, and monitor outcomes so that best practices can be shared.
  • Design and Develop Responsibly: Implement an integrative design process in new construction and renovations to meet University sustainability performance targets while making more efficient use of land and optimizing use of built space.
  • Cultivate Healthy and Resilient Habitats: Apply a restorative ecosystem approach in landscape management to regenerate healthy habitats across campus and invite engagement with nature.
  • Increase Commuters Using Alternatives to Single-Occupancy Vehicles: Nearly double the percentage of alternative commuters by mid-century and expand the use of campus as an incubator for lifelong sustainable transportation habits.
  • Reduce Waste and Expand Sustainable Purchasing: Strive for zero waste through behavioral and operational strategies that include reduction, reuse and recycling criteria in purchasing decisions, and expand these criteria to encourage social and environmental benefits in the full life cycle of purchased goods and services.

What is not funded: The fund is not intended for recurring initiatives unless there are obvious enhancements or new dimensions to the initiative or event. Additionally, proposals must comply with the Guidelines Relating to the Tax-Exempt Status of the University and Political Activities (see section 1.5).

Eligibility

Matriculated students as well as faculty and staff members who are benefits-eligible may apply. While we welcome proposals that involve alumni and community members, all proposals must be led by an eligible individual. Additionally, all applicants must remain eligible for funding for the duration of proposed projects in order to qualify for funding. 

Please note: We request that no funding request exceed $10,000 without prior discussion. Please contact Ellen Fischer for further details.

Submission Process

All High Meadows applicants should submit their proposals using the application form online.

Students applying for sustainability-related senior thesis or independent work must also submit an application through the Student Activities Funding Engine (S.A.F.E.). Those applying for senior thesis funding should also be sure to apply for funding from the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Review Process

High Meadows proposals will be evaluated by the Office of Sustainability and the Facilities organization. The review process for funding requests can take up to 30 days prior to final approval. Please plan your submission accordingly. Proposed projects should not begin until after funding is secured; funding will not be granted retroactively.

Assessment Report

Award recipients are required to complete an assessment report within 30 days of the project's completion.

Previous Recipients

Assessment Report

Award recipients are required to complete an assessment report within 30 days of the project's completion. 

Definitions

Sustainability: A dynamic and inclusive process that improves quality of life while regenerating ecological systems. As defined by Princeton’s Office of Sustainability. 

Environmental Justice: The fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, incomes and educational levels with respect to the development and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. source