Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund
“We are launching the Planet Blue Student Fund, with $50,000 a year for the next three years. It will support the best ideas to improve our work in the greenest ways. It is entirely in the hands of students to develop.” — President Mary Sue Coleman
The Planet Blue Student Innovation Fund (PBSIF) offers grants of up to $50,000 for student-initiated projects that promote environmental sustainability at the University of Michigan. This fund encourages projects of a larger scale and impact than those covered by the Student Sustainability Initiative's small-scale grant funding.
President Coleman announced the creation of PBSIF on September 27, 2011 when announcing the University’s sustainability goals. President Coleman guaranteed PBSIF $50,000 worth of funding per year for the next three years. Available grants range from $5,000 to $50,000, with priority given to projects that are of an innovative, visible, and transformative nature. Other criteria include factors such as student involvement and interest, economic payback, and partnerships facilitated within the U-M community of students, staff, and faculty.
What will it pay for?
PBSIF will fund projects that enhance campus sustainability by reducing U-M’s ecological footprint and/or by promoting a culture of sustainability at U-M.
Over the past two years, PBSIF has funded projects related to alternative transportation, food, and waste reduction. PBSIF will continue to fund projects that promote environmental sustainability, but also welcomes projects that promote social sustainability. That is, we define sustainability broadly. It’s energy efficiency, waste reduction, and local food; but it’s also social justice and community building. Students should think broadly—and with intention—about what sustainability is and why it matters to the University of Michigan.
What will PBSIF NOT fund?
PBSIF will not award funding for anything the university is required by law or policy to implement. It also will not fund carbon offsets, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), travel, or conference attendance.
What is the Project Idea list?
Are you eager to promote sustainability on campus, but don’t know where to start?
We’ve put together a list of ideas for projects that we think could enhance sustainability at the University of Michigan. These ideas are meant to get you started; with a little bit of thought and conversation with the right people (including the PBSIF Review Board!), these ideas could become full PBSIF proposals. See here for the Project Idea list.
If you like an idea, go ahead, form a team and get to work putting together a proposal; if you need help finding a team, just let the PBSIF board know.
PBSIF proposals based on ideas from the list will not be weighted any differently than proposals for projects not on the list. We will judge all proposals by the PBSIF proposal criteria.
Who can apply for PBSIF funding?
Students, student organizations, faculty, and staff are eligible to submit project proposals and are encouraged to work together on project teams.
Who oversees the fund?
The PBSIF Review Board oversees all grant activities, including deciding what projects receive funding, as well as supervising current grantees. The 2013-2014 Review Board consists of three undergraduate and graduate members, two members from the Student Sustainability Initiative, and three non-voting advisory members from the Graham Institute and the Office of Campus Sustainability.
What are the concept proposals?
The first step in applying for funding is to submit a concept proposal, a recommended, though not mandatory way to get feedback from the PBSIF Review Board on your project idea. Concept proposals can be submitted for both original ideas and ideas from the Project Ideas list. One page is an appropriate length. Feel free to contact the PBSIF Review Board if you have questions while putting together the concept proposal; we're here to help!
What is the timeline for PBSIF submissions?
- PBSIF Information Session: Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 7:30pm 1028 Dana
- Concept proposals: accepted between October 23 and November 27, 2013 to email@example.com. Concept proposals are not mandatory.
- Final Proposals: due by January 15, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Starting November 6, the PBSIF Review Board will be hosting a series of What's in a PBSIF? Help Sessions:
- Idea speed dating: November 6, 5:30-6:30, Dana 2024
- Insights from past PBSIF recipients: November 13, 5:30-6:30, Dana 2024
- Open help session: November 20, 5:30-6:30, Dana 2024
- What makes a good proposal? December 4, 5:30-6:30, Dana 2024