Program Objectives

Penn State Sustainability provides limited, supplemental funding support for speakers, films, conferences, and other outreach events that intersect with the broad range of issues that comprise sustainability. We are especially looking for programming that connect with aspects of sustainability as articulated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Programs that not only solicit funding from other sponsors but also try to leverage their programming to connect with programming across other units will be more favorably reviewed.

Funding is contingent on the Outreach Fund’s balance and we try to share funding as evenly as possible across campuses and units, so coordinating requests within your campus or college is STRONGLY encouraged. Proposals should be submitted using this new online form. We will consider applications on a rolling basis and make our funding decision within two weeks of your submission. Submissions must be made AT LEAST three weeks before your planned event to be considered.

Award Conditions

  1. Funding Range: Award limits are usually $100 for forums; $300 for a single speaker or film; or $500 for a panel, conference, or festival. Larger amounts will be considered for a major conference, large exhibition, or program only if they are of exceptional cost and value and if they build larger synergies of events and programming beyond a single event. Justification for atypical amounts must be included in your application.
  2. Use of Funds: Funds normally may be used to cover a portion or all of a speaker’s honorarium, travel, and lodging or the costs of film licensing, securing venues, or food and materials. Other expenditures will require special approval.
  3. Funding Limitations:
    • The event in which the funded speaker(s), films, or exhibitions are featured must be free and open to the public. If a speaker or panel is part of a large fee-based program (such as a conference requiring paid registration), the specific event co-sponsored by Penn State Sustainability must be free and open to the public.
    • These funds may not be used for expenses related to classroom presentations or course-related events.
    • All events funded by Penn State Sustainability must produce as little material use and energy consumption as possible. This includes issues both of waste/recycling/composting but also limiting needless unsustainable swag (e.g. t-shirt giveaways or plastic freebies).
    • Penn State Sustainability serves the entire Penn State system and aims for equity in our funding across campuses–so priority will be given to campuses we have not already funded in the same schoolyear. If we have unspent funding towards the end of the schoolyear, we will consider repeat requests from campuses. To avoid competition of proposals within a campus, we encourage you to contact your campus’s Sustainability Council prior to submission of an application to determine if there might be multiple proposals coming from your campus and to determine how best to prioritize applications.
  4. Submission and review schedule: Applications are considered on a rolling basis and must be submitted at least three weeks before the event for which you are seeking funding. Applications ideally should be submitted well ahead of your event. The review committee will consider all applications within two weeks of submission and notify all applicants of the decision. If your application is not funded initially, resubmissions will be considered if you change your application in response to SustainPSU feedback (there is not a guarantee that resubmissions will be funded, however).
  5. Funding Period: Arrangements for payment must be made within six months of the date of the confirmation email.
  6. Reporting: To receive funding, within two weeks of your event, you must submit a simple report about the event using a form we will send funded applicants. The form asks for basic data about number of attendees, outcomes of the programming, quotes from speakers or attendees about the event, and photos of the event that we can feature in later publications about sustainability activities at Penn State.

Application Materials

  1. Application: Complete the online application form. Be sure to include a complete description of the event that includes an overview of its specific relevance to the study of sustainability. Explain how you will minimize resource use and waste from the event.
  2. Vita: Attach the vita of any speaker, if applicable and available. Add any links to websites, trailers, supplementary materials, or descriptions of proposed speakers, films, exhibits, or other groups you’re proposing to bring.
  3. Budget: Include an overall budget for the event, with a breakdown of major expenses and a specific indication of which budget item(s) SustainPSU’s funds would be put towards.


An email will be sent indicating approval or rejection and, if approved, the amount of funds approved and the process for distribution of funds.

Publicity Responsibilities of Individuals or Groups Awarded Support

  1. Publicity: Please distribute copies of all publicity–including flyers, news releases, and other forms of publicity–to Penn State’s Sustainability Institute so that we can help cross-promote the event. Submit your event to SustainPSU’s online web calendar of events.
  2. Acknowledgement: Acknowledge support from Penn State Sustainability in all publicity including news releases. This will include adding our Penn State Sustainability mark to print materials and digital materials (including, but not limited to, websites, social media, and digital signage). Additionally, any website or digital media should have our mark hot-linked to our website ( After you receive approval of you co-sponsorship, we will send you the appropriate mark files. Please contact Sierra Keller ( with any questions about or materials for cross-promotion of your event.