Sustainability Project Funds

Sustainability Project Funds

Sustainability Project Funds

NOTICE: Sustainability Projects Fund is no longer taking in new applications to allow for end of year closures

The AMS Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) was established in September 2011 when UBC students passed a successful referendum to support student-led* sustainability projects through the Lighter Footprint Fee. In 2022, this fee was renamed to the Climate Action Fee** in which students pay $1.60 every year towards projects that encourage environmental, social and economic sustainability within the UBC community. Any UBC student with an idea for a sustainability-related project is welcome to apply for funding up to $15,000.

Apply anytime! We accept applications on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year. You will hear back on the status of your application within 3 weeks of applying.

*Priority will be given to on campus projects, but off campus projects that significantly engage UBC students will be considered.

**Please note that while the SPF is funded through the Climate Action Fee, the fund associated with this fee is not limited to climate-related projects, and projects that advance environment, social and/or economic sustainability on campus are encouraged to apply.

Features

  • Diverse projects: We know effective and long-term advancements in sustainability require more than education and individual behaviour change. As such, we’ve expanded the list of types of projects we fund to reflect the diversity of actions needed to achieve a sustainable future. We support projects that involve advocacy, community organizing and external partnerships as well as initiatives that emphasize social rather than environmental sustainability. The six project types we fund are:
    • Student empowerment
      The project empowers students by offering leadership opportunities, training, and /or mentorship. Students will gain skills and knowledge. The project enables student leaders to continue to make changes in the realm of sustainability following project completion.
    • Education & awareness
      The project raises awareness of sustainability issues and solutions, including information that is beyond common knowledge. The project may involve traditional education, publicity, outreach campaigns, or other methods. Education should be evidence-based but artistic and/or creative expression is also welcome.
    • Community organizing
      The project grows the sustainability movement – or a sustainability-related movement – by engaging UBC community members, equipping them to act, and growing the network of individuals dedicated to a cause. The project may target individuals that do not already identify as part of the movement and/or help people already interested in sustainability in building skills and growing their networks. The project helps build a sense of community.
    • Operations
      The project improves the environmental, ecological, and/or socially sustainable operations of the AMS and/or UBC Vancouver. The project should ideally connect to sustainability and well-being planning efforts or goals already underway at UBC.
    • Advocacy
      The project advocates for an institution (e.g. the AMS, UBC, city, province, etc.) to adopt a policy or make a commitment that aligns with environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The initiative should align with the priorities laid out in the AMS Sustainable Action Plan. The project builds community support to achieve the goal.
    • Info-sharing & partnerships
      The project expands the impact of initiatives underway on campus by sharing information, models, and results with off-campus stakeholders and communities. The project builds collaboration with off-campus sustainability organizations and/or communities that would benefit from sustainability support.
  • Sustainability Competencies: The Sustainability Competencies section encourages applicants to analyze their approach to advance sustainability and build projects that are effective, holistic and mindful of intersecting issues. This section is aligned with the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives framework to redirect the UBC student community towards a sustainable path. Pick a competency you feel strong in and explain how you are incorporating it to make your project even better. View the Sustainability Competencies Graphic
  • Simplified criteria: We use a simplified criteria to evaluate each application. For funding, each application must meet each criterion to some extent in order to be successful in receiving funding. 
  • Clarified funding restrictions: We’ve reviewed the expenses that are eligible for SPF funding and have made some revisions. We hope the restrictions help to explain better why we may reject an application. For example, we will no longer fund eco-friendly materials for non-sustainability-related events. We will, however, now consider operational funding on a case-by-case basis.

Looking for Inspiration?

Take a look at the highlights of some previously funded projects.

How to Apply

Application Process

Follow these steps to access up to $20,000 in funding for your sustainability project.

  1. Eligibility
    • Check that you are eligible to apply.
    • The primary applicant must be a registered UBC student. Secondary applicants can be faculty, staff or community members.
  2. Small or Large Projects
    • Determine if your project is considered a small or large project. Small projects have a total budget under $5,000, while large projects have a total budget of $5,000 or over. No more than $20,000 will be awarded to any single project.
  3. Review Funding Restrictions
    • Review the Funding Restrictions below to make sure the expenses you need qualify. Reach out to the Funds and Grants Administrator at fundsandgrants@ams.ubc.ca if you aren’t sure or have any issues.
  4. Community Consultation 
    • Consult with the community. Reach out to relevant organizations to find out whether anyone else is doing something similar and to explore opportunities for collaborations. Contact groups or individuals that may be impacted by the project and make space for them to provide feedback and express any concerns meaningfully. Reach out to relevant UBC departments for support.
  5. Review Evaluation Criteria
    • Read the Evaluation Criteria below to make sure you can justify your project on all fronts. Consult with your team if needed.
  6. Fill Out the Application
    • Fill out the application form (please indicate in the application if your project is a small or large project)
    • Please explain your thoughts clearly and try to be concise. Aim to write between a few sentences and one paragraph per question.
    • Be sure to read the appendix for more information on what each project type and sustainability competency is. 
  7. Submit!
    • Submit the application form, and expect a response within up to 3 weeks. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to the Funds and Grants Administrator, at fundsandgrants@ams.ubc.ca

More Information

Expect to hear back within 3 weeks of submission. All projects will be reviewed by the AMS SPF Subcommittee or the Finance Committee. Upon notification of the decision, the Committee may provide you with suggestions or conditions for approval.

Application Forms

Apply for the SPF here.

Reimbursement & Restrictions

Reimbursement

  1. All payment reimbursements are receipt-based and must be accompanied by the following
    1. Completed SPF invoice form
    2. All associated receipts (Amount should match the total on SPF Invoice)
    3. Your bank statement showing the transaction(s) and the last 4 digits of your card. These documents should be sent to AVP Finance as a single PDF document at avpfinance@ams.ubc.ca. Credit/debit transaction records with no mention of the actual item paid for will not be accepted.
  2. To simplify the administrative procedures, only the primary and secondary applicants will be directly reimbursed. Please make sure that your primary and secondary applicants are the ones that will be paying for the expenses at first.
  3. Projects have two months after their project’s stated completion date to file receipts. The AVP Finance holds the right to reject reimbursement if it is too far past the project’s slated completion. However, discretion is applied with regards to project extensions and special circumstances as they arise.
  4. If the reimbursement for is filled properly and all expenditures are accompanied by receipt, your check would be ready in not later than 10 working days

Funding Restrictions

Expenses that can be funded by the SPF are restricted as follows.

  1. No student salaries/wages/coop fees shall be reimbursed by SPF funds.
    1. Professional services with receipts are acceptable, but the SPF does not provide honoraria to project leaders.
    2. However, the SPF will fund honoraria for speakers at a maximum of $250 per application.
    3. The SPF will also fund prize money up to a maximum of $250 per application.
  2. No travel or accommodation for students will be funded.
    1. However, the Finance Committee will consider funding travel and accommodation for non-student speakers.
  3. Catering/food costs will be funded only at under $25/person per meal and only for events, not team meetings.
    1. It is recommended to use AMS affiliated sustainable catering options such as AMS Catering
    2. Events where food education is the main focus can be exempt from this limitation, and the amount of funding will be at the discretion of the Finance Committee.
  4. No alcoholic beverages or liquor licenses shall be reimbursed through SPF funds.
  5. No conference registration fees shall be reimbursed through the SPF funds. Students will be referred to other sources of funding available on campus.
  6. The SPF will not fund the cost of eco-friendly materials for an event that is not related to sustainability. Groups looking for this type of funding are encouraged to apply to the Student Environment Centre
  7. The SPF generally funds projects and events, but operational expenses that support multiple projects/events to happen will also be considered.
  8. The SPF cannot fund projects retroactively. Project leaders should submit their application well in advance to ensure it can be reviewed before the project start date.

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to determine whether to approve funding for a project. Projects should meet each criterion to some extent in order to be approved.

CriterionDescription
Student engagement (Priority will be given to on campus projects, but off campus projects that significantly engage UBC students will be considered.)Are students highly involved in implementing the project? Does the project heavily impact or engage students? This could entail either a high depth of impact (deep engagement with a small number of students) or high breadth of impact (shallower engagement with many students).
Alignment with project typeDoes the project align well with and advance the goals of at least one project type?
Budget and scope reasonablenessIs the project reasonable in its budget and timeline? Could the project be done for cheaper? Is the project likely to run over budget or over time? Do the anticipated outcomes of this project seem reasonable? 
ValueIs the expected impact of this project on sustainability worth the amount of funding requested?
Emissions ImpactDoes the project contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
Longevity/potential growth (for large projects only)Is there a plan for the future of the project beyond the completion date? How long will this project’s effects be felt? Will this project set a precedent for more impactful change?
Sustainability competencies (for large projects only)Does the project clearly demonstrate the application of at least one sustainability competency?

Monitoring and Reporting

  1. Beneficiaries are required to take photographs of their project activities and submit as part of the reimbursement process
  2. A final report submission is required after project completion and applies to all projects. Large projects are expected to submit longer final reports of 2-3 pages maximum, while smaller projects can submit reports of 1-2 pages maximum. Projects that are events must include the approximate number of attendees in their report. Please visit this page to submit your report. Any PDF reports can be sent to sustainability@ams.ubc.ca.