Tuesday, July 12, 2016

We proudly funded eight project teams in the second year of the CSF Mini Grants program. Comparatively, last year we funded four. Mini Grants are CSF grants up to $1,000 which are processed through a streamlined application process. Although Mini Grants only accounted for 2% of our annual project funding, they engaged 20% of the students working on CSF projects this year. The program is not only cost-effective, but also provides a lower barrier means through which students can access CSF funding. As a result, we had a higher percentage of first time applicants and new departments through the Mini Grants program compared to our large funding cycles

The Mini Grants program is lower barrier given its shorter application process, rolling deadline, and quick turnaround time. Our large grants, on the other hand, require an application process that spans three month from the initial request to the final approval. Also, applications are only accepted twice a year. This process helps to fine-tune complex, long-term project ideas, but is too exhaustive for small capital projects or events. Meanwhile, Mini Grants can be submitted any time throughout the year. Even more conveniently, applications are approved or denied within two weeks. 

In this way, our Mini Grants program helps the CSF engage with students who do not have the time or expertise to implement a large-scale capital project or program. In particular, this application process is conducive to educational, sustainability events. This year we had three projects from departments with no previous engagement with the CSF. Two of these projects were events funded by Mini Grants: the Next System Teach-In and the Tribal Water Security Colloquium. Additionally, over 70% of our Mini Grant project teams were first time applicants.

Looking forward, we hope to continue expanding the Mini Grants program in order to increase our engagement with students across campus. Given we are financially supported by all students across every discipline at the UW, we believe that every student should be encouraged to get involved with the CSF. In order to truly foster a more environmentally-conscious campus community, sustainability work must come from all areas of campus.