Sustainability grant deadline approaching, $5,000 student-led grants available


The Bell Memorial Union on Chico State campus. Taken on July 25, 2018 by Jason Halley/University Photographer/CSU Chico

The last day to submit a proposal for a $5,000 Associated Students Sustainability Fund is Nov. 2, but students must first attend one October workshop to apply. The A.S. has a sustainability fund for keen students who want to make Chico State more environmentally friendly. 

The Associated Students Sustainability Program aims to give Wildcats the opportunity to lead environmental initiatives and teach environmental competence. They encourage students to get their hands dirty and be more proactive about the environment.  

“The A.S. Sustainability Fund,” said A.S. President Duncan Young said, “is an incredible tool that enables students to develop valuable skills such as grant-writing, project management, budget development and execution, all while actively working to slow the effects of climate change.”    

Nani Teves, A.S. Sustainability program coordinator, said Chico State sets aside $100,000 every year for student-led environmental initiatives. Each semester, $50,000 goes toward the Sustainability Fund. This money is allocated between individuals and groups of people who will receive $5,000 for their project proposal.

“If the money doesn’t get used, it goes into a reserve and it can only be used for sustainability projects and can’t be used for fixing buildings,” Teves said. “The money will not go away.”

Workshops are held in room 204 of the Bell Memorial Union.. They will be facilitated by Kaelyn Ricci, assistant sustainability coordinator. Applicants must submit a form with their signatures, along with a survey form about how the proposal will help the environment.

After the workshop, students can apply the following semester if they don’t have an idea ready to go. Wildcats who submit a proposal are expected to lead their project and complete it within the duration of their enrollment.

Workshop dates include:

  • Oct. 13 from noon-1 p.m.
  • Oct. 21 from 6-7 p.m.

The program has funded solar panel phone charging stations, owl houses around sports fields and hydration stations on the track field to reduce the use of plastic bottles.

Director of Energy and Sustainability Cheri Chastain said Chico State students are innovative and motivated to build a more sustainable campus. 

“The Sustainability Fund provides an outlet for their ideas to actually come to fruition and for students to leave a sustainable impact on the campus,” Chastain said, “usually well beyond when they graduate.”

When “An Inconvenient Truth: A Global Warming” debuted on Netflix in 2006, it left some Wildcats uneasy. It prompted students to engage in environmental initiatives — there was a need for action.

Mark Stemen’s class, Geology 440: Environmental Thought in Action, introduced the fund in 2006; each semester students from this class propose possible environmental initiatives that can be explored. Courtney Voss, an environmental studies and international relations major and former A.S. President, proposed the fund and Wildcats voted in majority for it.

The fund was preceded by the Environmental Affairs Conference. When Stemen first started teaching at Chico State, he noticed that the students had the gusto but lacked the funding for these initiatives. 

“[Students] used to teach themselves about all of this stuff,” Stemen said, “and as they started to learn about these things, they said, ‘OK, we want to do some of these things that we see other campuses doing and other students do.’ And they realized they needed some money so they self-taxed.”

Melvin Bui can be reached at [email protected] or @melvinbuii on Twitter.