Calling all tree-huggers and would-be plastic straw bandits: Think you have what it takes to make this campus greener? The Office of Sustainability is accepting applications from faculty, staff and students to fund project proposals that promote environmental sustainability at UMD. And this year, $400,000 are up for grabs.

The University Sustainability Fund has provided more than $2 million in grants since its creation in 2011. Funding comes from student fees, which undergraduate students voted in 2007 to increase for this purpose. A student-majority committee of the Sustainability Council administers funds each year, typically supporting multiple projects.

The 120 funded projects have the following in common: They promote environmental sustainability and positively impact and enhance the student experience. They might increase the use of renewable energy on campus or local community, increase the energy efficiency of our facilities, reduce waste, encourage sustainable behaviors, and integrate sustainability into teaching, research and service.

The fund allows the campus community to get creative with proposals, says Sustainability Manager Mark Stewart.

“It has really inspired a lot of new ideas and I think encouraged people to be forthcoming with concepts that at first sound crazy,” he said. “Time and time again, we’ve seen a lot of innovation happening because we have this fund available.”

The priority deadline for proposals this year is Oct. 15, and winners are announced in mid-January.

Check out these previously funded projects that have sparked change at UMD.