The Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF), the $900,000 a year fund dedicated to supporting sustainability projects on McGill’s campuses, will continue for an additional five years.
The SPF was formed through student referenda in November 2009 and established a joint funding mechanism whereby the total amount that the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), the Post-graduate Students’ Society (PGSS), and the Macdonald Campus Students’ Society (MCSS) students contribute to the fund is matched dollar-for-dollar by the University. Every five years, the SPF is evaluated for renewal. This is contingent upon; (a) all three students’ societies passing referenda in favour of continuing their funding contributions and (b) the University renewing its commitment to match these contributions. The last renewal process and referenda were successfully held in 2013.
Funding was confirmed last week with the passing of the final student referendum from PGSS with 73 percent approval. Earlier this fall, both MCSS and SSMU held referenda that passed resoundingly, with 98 percent and 82.4 percent, respectively. The University has also confirmed its commitment to funding its half of the SPF.
“I am very pleased that the Referendum passed and excited for the next years and projects to come,” says Konstantina Chalastra, PGSS Environment Commissioner. “In my opinion, the SPF is an open door, a great source for unexplored ideas, for both students and staff members. I would say that sky is the limit and that the funding opportunities are so diverse and unique, so anyone with an idea should apply.”
The SPF aims to promote a culture of sustainability on McGill University campuses. The largest campus sustainability fund of its kind in North America, the SPF has allocated over $6 million in funding since its establishment in 2010, and has approved over 180 projects, which have yielded dramatic and lasting improvements to the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of McGill’s sustainability performance.
“The SPF has been a fantastic opportunity for students and for the student groups I mentor,” says Caroline Begg, Faculty Lecturer in the Department of Plant Science at the Macdonald Campus. “The students have started some amazing projects, such as the Macdonald Student-Run Ecological Garden, Farm-to-School, which has evolved into the non-profit Ecole-O-Champ/Farm-to-School and the Out-of-the-Garden project, the Macdonald student-run café. These projects have had a long-term impact on students and staff, changing the way they eat and how they understand the agro-food system.”
All McGill community members – students, staff, and faculty – can apply for funding to develop their own interdisciplinary projects that promote sustainability on campus.