Start Your Own Campus Green Fund

Campus Green Fund Collaborative and AASHE publish
"How-to Guide: Campus Green Fund Implementation" and Campus Green Fund Database
"Developed in partnership with the Campus Green Funds Collaborative, the Guide outlines best practices and lessons learned in designing, managing, promoting, and evaluating campus green funds and their respective projects. CGFs create the financial means for promoting sustainability in all areas of higher education; including academics, operations, administration, and engagement. They help to expand knowledge of sustainability by providing educational and research opportunities to students, faculty, staff, and administrators."

Join the Campus Green Fund Collaborative, a non-registered group of campus sustainability officers involved in coordinating and managing green funds on their respective campuses. The CGFC's goal is to share resources on the successes and challenges of starting, implementing, and managing green funds.

Check out our Green Fund Resources page for information on other North American campus green fund programs.

Visit our Campaign History page to download helpful tools for running a green fund campaign on your campus and for more details on next steps once the campaign has succeeded.

Download the following presentations or check out the information below!



What is a campus green fund?

  • A campus green fund is money available to members of the campus community for sustainability projects.
  • The money for the fund comes from campus green fees.
  • The money is awarded to recipients through grants.

What is a campus green fee?

  • A small amount ($5-10) from student fees allocated for sustainability projects. TGIF at UC Berkeley receives $6.00/student/semester from student fees, ~320,000 per year.
  • Additional tuition costs for sustainability projects.

Planning a Green Fund Campaign

  • Build campus partners
  • Choose your audience
  • Make sure the price is right for your campus
  • Tie the campaign to key issues
  • Create selling points
  • Evaluate possible challenges
  • Define method for evaluating success

Build Campus Partners

  • Co-sponsors and Allies: Find campus groups, departments, faculty and staff, and officials who will publicly support the referendum.
  • Grant project approval: Certain campus departments will eventually have to approve grant projects (Physical Plant, Office of Sustainability, Capital Projects)
  • Will they be on board if this passes? (They may have to supervise projects.)

Build Campus Partners

  Undergraduate Students Graduate Students
Type of Campaign Fun, something students can take an active role in Logistical reasoning that directly affects their needs
Campaign Pitch 30 secs - 1 min 2-5 min
Tactics Tabling, class visits, fliers, publicity events, res hall blitzes, a brand Class visits, door-to-door in graduate housing, departmental meetings, and social gatherings

The Price is Right: Is It? Fit Your Campus

  • Research your university’s current financial state. Are you a public university and your budget tied to the state budget? Are you private and tied to endowment? Not all campuses will have the same green fee price.
  • Research students’ current financial situations and willingness to pay for new services. If passed, the green fund should not be a "financial hardship" for the students.
  • Would anyone be willing to match the students' fees? See if your college President, a campus department, alumni, or a corporate donor would match the students' fees, allowing you to lessen the fee amount.

Key Issues

  • To what issues do students give their support?
  • Are those issues going to be eligible for grants through this fund? If yes, then make sure these are the issues being publicized with this referendum

Berkeley Student Food Collective

Selling Points (SCPB)


  • valuable natural resources
  • $$$ on campus utility and purchasing bills


  • student jobs
  • valuable leadership experience and green job skills for students


  • collaboration and communication amongst students, faculty, and staff
  • sustainable behavior


  • campus groups, local businesses, and neighborhoods involved in implementation

Talking Louder
Be prepared to have answers for FAQs:

  • Why should the students pay for this?
  • If this makes so much sense, why isn’t the university already doing this?
  • Who/what will be awarded grants?
  • How will the fund be managed?
  • If the students vote YES, will university officials approve?

Student-Driven Campaign

  • Write a referendum
  • Get the referendum on the elections ballot
  • Publicize the voting dates and educate the campus about the referendum
  • Student body votes YES or NO (Referendum needs majority vote)
  • Referendum must also receive institutional approval to be officially implemented


Getting a Referendum on the Ballot

Connect with the campus elections office and the student government

  • Find out when annual elections occur
  • How can you get a referendum on a ballot? Do you need signatures?
  • Many universities only allow campaigning during certain weeks

Learn the rule book and get creative!

Publicize the Brand

  • Choose a catchy title and tagline
  • Invest in a logo. Use colors that stand out.
  • Publicize the brand at large events
  • Put the logo on stickers, decals, posters, banners

Earth Week Victory Garden

Referendum does NOT pass. Evaluate results:

  • How close was the vote?
  • Can you determine how your different audiences voted?
  • Was there enough publicity and education? Are people not ready?

Referendum DOES pass. Next steps:

Green Fund Infrastructure

What do you need for a successful green fund?

  • A decision-making body
  • A paid staff member/coordinator
  • Publicity and community outreach
  • Website and marketing tools
  • Grant applications
  • Archives

Grant Coordinator
(You can have the Coordinator be full time with the fund or split with another department.)

  • Acts as the face of the committee
  • Coordinates speaking at meetings and community outreach
  • Meets with project applicants and grantees
  • Runs trainings for committee members and new grantees
  • Project Management
  • Tracks the progress of grantees
  • Manages the books and other administrative tasks
  • Formulates and executes strategic initiatives for publicity
  • Provides institutional memory

Office of Sustainability

Grant Applications

  • Abstract Submissions: These allow a committee to screen projects and ask the applicants questions or to make changes before the final applications are due.
  • Project Approvals: Projects need approvals from various campus entities
  • Metrics: Must be able to measure costs and benefits of a project- quantitative and/or qualitative metrics are required.


  • Preserve institutional knowledge and fund activity
  • Archive all applications, both awarded and non-selected
  • Archive all budget activity. Archives allow for the transparency of a fund and assist with the publication of the annual reports.
  • Archive all decisions made by grant-making committee, especially amendments to the bylaws. Once a decision has been made, the coordinator can reference the archives, rather than keep asking the committee.


Similar Green Initiative ProgramsI-House Compost & Garbage

The name "The Green Initiative Fund" was first coined by UC Santa Barbara in 2006. Check out TGIF at other universities and colleges.

UC Irvine
UC Santa Barbara
UC San Diego
California Student Sustainability Coalition



Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.