Program Objectives

Penn State’s Sustainability Institute provides limited, supplemental funding support for speakers, films, and outreach events and scholarly and/or creative projects 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 solicit funding from other sponsors will be more favorably reviewed. Funding is contingent on the Outreach Fund’s balance. Proposals from PSU Faculty and Staff should be submitted using the online form by the last day of the month and our funding decisions will be made within a week after the deadline. For all others, especially student groups, please apply using this link.

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, project, or festival. Additional amounts will be considered for a major conference, large exhibition, or program of exceptional cost and value.
  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, food and project materials. Other expenditures will require special approval.
  3. Funding Limitations: The event in which a speaker(s), films, and exhibitions are featured must be free and open to the public. If the speaker or panel is part of a large fee-based program such as a conference requiring paid registration, the specific lecture co-sponsored by the Sustainability Institute 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 the Sustainability Institute must produce as little material use and energy consumption as possible. A description of how this goal will be achieved is expected in the proposal.
  4. Submission and review schedule: Applications are due on the last day of each month and must be submitted at least two weeks before the event. The review committee will consider all applications within one week of the deadline and notify all applicants of the decision. Applications can be submitted well ahead of the event and if it is not funded, resubmissions are accepted.
  5. Funding Period: Arrangements for payment must be made within six months of the date of the confirmation email.

Application Materials

  1. Application: Complete the online form. (PLEASE NOTE: Only Penn State Faculty and Staff are able to access this online form. For all others, especially student groups, please apply using this link through the Council of Sustainable Leaders’ website. We will still consider applications submitted this way in the exact same way and on the same timetable as those submitted through the other link on this page.)
  2. Vita: Include vita of any speaker, if applicable and available.
  3. Description of Event: Provide a description of the event that includes an overview of its specific relevance to the study of sustainability. Note in the description how you will minimize resource use by and waste from the event.
  4. Budget: Include an overall budget for the event, with a breakdown of major expenses and a specific indication of which budget item(s) SI’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.

Responsibilities of Individual or Group Awarded Support

  1. Logistical Arrangements: Arrange for speaker/event room scheduling, AV equipment, introduction of speaker, lodging, transportation, and all other logistical arrangements.
  2. Publicity: Prepare and distribute all publicity including flyers, news releases, and other forms of publicity. Send copies of all publicity, including news releases to Penn State’s Sustainability Institute.
  3. Acknowledgement: Acknowledge support from Penn State’s Sustainability Institute in all publicity including news releases. This will include adding our logo 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 logo hot-linked to our website ( After you receive approval of you co-sponsorship, we will send you the appropriate logo files. Any questions can be directed to Peter Buck at
  4. Results: The results of a project must be communicated to the Sustainability Institute and relevant stakeholders within two weeks of the project’s implementation. Note: If it is an ongoing project, results may be communicated on a timeline arranged with Sustainability Institute staff.