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Submit a Proposal

Thinking about submitting a proposal? Here are the steps we recommend you take:

More Details

1. Avoid reinventing the wheel by learning what SCU is already doing about: 
To identify the current gaps in our climate neutrality program, review historical greenhouse gas emissions reports for Santa Clara University.

 2. Identify potential projects by examining sources such as: 

  • The SCU Center for Sustainability’s Living Laboratory Projects Database
  • Research projects conducted by the SLURP classes (SLURP = Sustainable Living Undergraduate Research)
  • Projects at other campuses described on the web site of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Case Studies for CSIF provided by Sustainable Silicon Valley
  • More ideas for potential projects:
    • Solar thermal water heating on residence halls
    • Light sensors and delamping
    • Toilets - low-flow? dual flush?
    • Creating our own on-site water recycling system (a small one)
    • Permanent, sustainably-built shower timers that also show gallons used (input GPM rate)
    • An app that guides first-years, guests, etc. on how to act sustainably on campus
      • partner with mobile SCU
      • include in welcome week guide book
    • Solar-powered umbrellas w/ charger outlet bases
    • Suite-style living compost bins - larger, villas, casa, etc.


3. We suggest you contact the following departments that might be stakeholders in your project idea. The deadline to request technical information from SCU staff is Week 5, any requests later than this deadline are not guaranteed to be filled.
Center for Sustainability:
The Center for Sustainability administers the CSIF and also contains much of the institutional knowledge about sustainability efforts on campus.
The SCU Facilities department is a recognized leader in sustainable campus management in regards to buildings, grounds, energy, water, and waste.
Initial inquires should go to
The SCU Utilities department is a leader in energy conservation and innovation. Contact this department with questions about electricity, natural gas, and water.
Initial inquires should go to
Transportation Services:
Transportation Services provides support for all campus transportation needs. They have several transportation programs geared towards enhancing sustainability and efficiency for all Santa Clara University students, faculty, and staff. Any projects about transportation would benefit from working with Transportation Services.
Housing: The Housing Office is a major stakeholder in campus sustainability initiatives. Any projects affecting campus housing would benefit from working with the Housing Office.
Dining Services by Bon Appetit is also a major stakeholder in campus sustainability initiatives. Any projects affecting dining would benefit from working with Dining Services.
If you have a question about a topic or would like some resources to help you with background research:
  • Communication, behavior change: Chad Raphael
  • Energy systems, technology, water systems: Stephanie Hughes
  • Mechanical Engineering: Hohyun Lee
  • Electrical Engineering: Shoba Krishnan
  • Help with calculations: Samiha Mourad
  • Frugal Innovations Lab


4. When you are ready for more specific background data, please refer to this document: CSIF Background Information (GHG Emissions Factors and Contacts)

5. Projects will be reviewed by a technical committee, and if deemed feasible, the entire committee. Project must be comprehensive, show a return on investment, be operationally sound, reduce SCU's greenhouse gas emissions, and include a plan for measurement and verification. Projects dependent on behavior changes must have a way of measuring a shift in our campus culture of sustainability. These projects must include a plan to implement the project and change behavior.

6. Review your proposal. If you're confused about what a finished proposal should look like, we have provided two exceptional finished proposals.

Technical ExampleMalley Basketball Court LED Lighting, Sample Return on Investment Calculation

Cultural Change ExampleVillas Composting

  • Use concise, clear sentences.
  • Elaborate only as much as is helpful for the reader to have a general understanding of the points you are making.
  • Remember that the committee needs enough information to understand the project.
  • Use section headings, numbered and bulleted lists, and other formatting that help to lead your reader through the proposal.
What the fund cannot be used for:
  • travel expenses
  • conference fees
  • faculty course release from teaching

Proposals should include the following sections:

Project Title and Introduction
  • Project Title
  • Introduction (no more than 5 paragraphs)
    • Brief problem statement
    • Proposed Solution (short description of the project and anticipated outcomes)
    • Funding requirements
  • Your information
    • Primary contact’s information
    • Team members
    • Faculty/Staff advisor (if applicable) (they will receive notification when your application is submitted)
Climate Neutrality
  • Which greenhouse gas emissions source(s) will your project address? (Natural gas use, electricity use, water use, waste production, employee/student commute, or SCU-funded travel).
  • How will your project reduce Santa Clara University’s greenhouse gas emissions? Clearly articulate how the product or process will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with University-owned property.
    • Please refer to CSIF Background Information for more information and emissions factors.
    • Here are the emissions factors SCU used for 2014 calculations: You might want to convert Metric Tons to Pounds. (1 MT = 2,204.62 lbs).
      • Electricity: 0.0002905828 MT eCO2/kWh
      • Natural Gas: 0.0531667 MT eCO2/MMBtu
      • Water: (wastewater) 5.16202E-07 (MT eCO2/gallon)
      • Waste:
        • CH4 Recovery and Flaring: 0.31 (MT eCO2/short ton)
        • CH4 Recovery and Electric Generation: -0.03 (MT eCO2/short ton)
      • Transportation:
        • Student/Employee Commute:
        • Automobile: 0.0003765 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Bus: 0.0003241 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Light Rail: 0.00010925 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Commuter Rail: 0.0001367 (MT eCO2/mile)
      • Campus Vehicles:
        • Gasoline Fleet: 0.009099063 (MT eCO2/gallon)
        • Diesel Fleet: 0.0103478 (MT eCO2/gallon)
      • University-Funded Travel:
        • Air Travel: 0.000508267 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Train: 0.0001497 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Taxi / Ferry / Rental Car: 0.00037646 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Bus: 0.0003241 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Alternative Fuel Bus: 0 (MT eCO2/mile)
        • Personal Mileage Reimbursement: 0.000376458 (MT eCO2/mile)
Funding information
  • Total amount requested
  • Budget breakdown (itemized budget).
    • Be sure to include estimates for labor (about $70/hr) and permitting fees.
    • Provide sources for each of your cost estimates.
    • You may email your budget to with the subject: “CSIF: [Project Title]”. 
      • Sample budget layout:
        A sample budget for an investment fund application
  • Other funding sources (discuss potential other funding sources for the project, including potential rebates, if any)
  • Return on Investment: show calculations of monetary savings due to your project. (Strong preference will be given to ideas with a payback of 5 years or less). This website can help you calculate simple payback.
Measurement and Verification
  • Clearly articulate how the effectiveness of the product or process will be measured and verified.
  • You are strongly encouraged to submit endorsements or recommendation letters along with your proposal. These can be letters of support from campus departments/organizations, or from campuses/organizations who have successfully used the product or process. Please email these to with the subject: CSIF: [Project Title].
  • Proof of Concept: What projects at other campuses or organizations have you used as a model for your project (if any)?
  • Please list any consultants you have worked with (may include SCU faculty/staff or other topic experts)
  • Indicate the project stakeholders

Application Review Process:

  • Submissions will go through initial feasibility review by the CSIF committee technical sub-group.
  • Submissions deemed appropriate for SCU will be reviewed by the CSIF committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Applicants with submissions not selected by the committee will be notified, given feedback, and invited to re-submit revised proposals the following quarter.
  • Awardees will be notified and invited to participate in the process of implementation, execution, measurement, and reporting, which will be led by staff in University Operations.
  • Final budgets are approved by the CSIF committee during the application process. The committee and University Operations reserves the right to revise the proposed budget to fit within the scope of allowable expenses.
Submit Your Proposal