|Submission Date||Oct. 16, 2015|
University of Kentucky
IN-1: Innovation 1
Office oF Sustainability
Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :
The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program was developed as a collaborative effort of the President’s Sustainability Advisory Committee, The Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment and the Office of Sustainability. The idea emerged from a brainstorming session following an annual sustainability outreach fair. That particular fair had been a disappointing outreach effort, with declining participation and energy. We realized a new strategy was needed and started exploring ways to initiate more meaningful engagement from and for the campus community. The Sustainability Challenge Grant Program was created from ideas circulated at this meeting.
The University of Kentucky Sustainability Challenge Grant program was designed to engage multidisciplinary teams from the University community in the creation and implementation of initiatives that will promote sustainability by simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity, now and into the future. In the pilot year (2014), project proposals with total requests of more than $450,000 were received from 22 interdisciplinary teams. Of these, seven very diverse proposals were awarded a total of $100,000. Funding support came from the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, The Student Sustainability Council and The Vice President for Research.
The primary goal was to develop a program that engaged multidisciplinary teams from the University community in the creation and implementation of ideas that promote sustainability by issuing a call for proposals and awarding funding to selected proposals. A necessary supporting goal was to raise $100,000 from diverse campus sources to support that program.
Our goals for the call for proposals were to solicit ideas that demonstrated transformational potential, creativity, student-engagement, use of campus as a living laboratory and the potential for the proposed project to be adopted and sustained by a University unit or within the larger community. In order to be able to demonstrate program impact as quickly as practical, the focus was on proposals with short term deliverables. We set 12 months as the time frame for implementation for funded projects. Internally, we set targets of 20 proposals and a total financial request of at least $250,000.
As stated above, use of the campus as a living laboratory was a priority for this program. Therefore, the call for proposals was written to ensure collaboration and support from campus operational units impacted by the proposed projects. Proposals that had the potential to impact physical spaces on the campus were required to include a letter of support from the top administrator responsible for the unit impacted. Teams were also encouraged to include staff members from operational units impacted by their projects.
Overall, facilitating meaningful engagement from all corners of our University was the catalyst and the primary goal for this effort. We attempted to promote this with the structure of the program which requires a team of faculty, staff and students to implement an idea within a defined time period.
A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):
Call for Proposals and Selection Phase
Twenty two interdisciplinary teams submitted proposals requesting more than $450,000. The 22 proposals included diverse, balanced teams of faculty (n=48), staff (n=22) and students (n=18) from more than 20 campus departments. Several proposals also included community members on their teams. Sixty six (66) faculty, staff, students and community members were recruited to review and score the proposals. The initial phase of the project engaged more than 150 campus and community members in the process, most of whom had no previous involvement with the University’s formal sustainability units.
UK Public Relations featured the call for proposals in a campus-wide email and as a featured story.
$100,000 was awarded to seven interdisciplinary team for proposals focused on a wide range of sustainability topics, addressing issues in the areas of food, water, energy and urban planning. Project teams and abstracts are attached in supporting documentation.
Our Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration presented the teams with the awards at an event in December. After the event, he was so impressed with the interdisciplinary teams and the focus on the campus as living laboratory that he committed $100,000 to make the second year of the program (2015-2016) possible. He challenged us to use his contribution to raise an additional $100,000 from other sources.
UK Public Relations featured the award of the projects in a campus-wide email and as a featured story.
The Student Sustainability Council, The Office of the Provost, and the Vice President for Research has each committed $33,333 to the program for the coming year, bringing the total funding for the second cycle to the target of $200,000.
The seven individual teams that received the inaugural funds are all doing incredible, transformative work with high degrees of student engagement and leadership. The first three months of progress for each team is detailed in the progress reports section of the SCG Program website.
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
|Yes or No|
|Air & Climate||---|
|Coordination, Planning & Governance||Yes|
|Diversity & Affordability||---|
|Health, Wellbeing & Work||---|
Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE
staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.
The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.