The largest fund of its kind in North America, the Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) was created to kickstart a culture of sustainability on McGill campuses.
In the fall of 2009 McGill's three student societies—SSMU, MCSS, and PGSS—partnered with the McGill administration to create the SPF. The proposal was passed by student referendum in November 2009, with 79 per cent of voters on the downtown campus voting to adopt the fund. Some 5,300 students voted, the second-highest total in SSMU history.
Students approved a $0.50/credit fee to contribute to the Fund, which the Administration committed to matching dollar-for-dollar. After an exceptionally successful three-year pilot period (2010-2013) that saw the funding of 92 projects worth $2.9 million, students voted again in a resounding commitment to renew their fee until Winter 2018.
The administration extended their commitment as well, for a further five years. The collaboration between students and the administration is also expressed in the parity (four students and four staff) Working Group that allocates SPF funds through consensus. Additionally, more than 85% of approved projects have demonstrated collaboration between students and staff.
The SPF is an exciting way for members of the McGill community to contribute and be involved in building a culture of sustainability on McGill campuses through the development and seed-funding of interdisciplinary projects. In the first three years alone, SPF projects involved 72 McGill faculties and departments, 49 student groups, 106 community groups and 19 other universities.
Interested in having your fellow students or colleagues discover the SPF? Contact spfoutreach [at] mcgill.ca to request a presentation. The SPF team will be happy to present to a group of 8 or more in your classroom or office.