Office of Sustainability  >  Patriot Green Fund  >  Frequently Asked Questions  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the PGF?
A: It's a $100,000 per year sustainability fund that is devoted to making Mason's campuses more sustainable through facility upgrades or installations and student research projects.


Q: What is the application process?
A: Eligible applicants first submit a preliminary application to the committee; if it's approved applicants are invited to submit a final application. An invitation to submit a final application does not guarantee your project will be approved. Go to the Apply for Funds page to apply!


Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: Any student, faculty, or staff member may apply for funds to support a sustainability project. However, research projects must have an undergraduate or graduate student leading the project - research projects led by faculty alone are not eligible. Also, facility projects requesting over $20,000 are strongly encouraged to apply for other grants and/or obtain funding from other Mason departments. Students leading facility projects are strongly encouraged to locate a faculty or staff mentor.

Q: Who selects the award winners?
A: The PGF committee is made up of two staff members, two faculty members, and five students.Read more about the current committee.


Q: How do I submit my application?
A: You can find the different applications on the PGF Home page. E-mail completed applications to


Q: What are the important deadlines for applying?
A: The deadlines for Spring 2017 will be on February 6th, March 6th, and April 3rd. Projects under $1000 are eligible for the Quick Fund process and can be submitted at any time.


Q: Who can I contact with questions?
A: Once your final application has been approved, you will be assigned a project manager to help you through your project.  This person will be your contact for all questions concerning your project. Until then, you can email with any questions you have about the PGF, your project, or sustainability at Mason!


Q: Can I get credit for my project?
A: Possibly; this is contingent upon your field of study. Contact your advisor to find out whether you can use your project as an independent study. If you are receiving class credit for your project, wages can not be part of the grant request.


Q: Can the PGF funds be used for feasibility studies?
A: Yes, but they must ideally include an experiential learning component. In other words, the company hired to do the feasibility study (if not Mason students or faculty) must be willing and able to include students in their efforts. If the study is done by Mason faculty and students, the answer is a more firm Absolutely.


Q: Can part of my award be used for wages or travel expenses?
A: Students can apply for a maximum of $500 in wages or travel. However, there must be a clear justification for this expense in your application. If a student is receiving any sort of academic credit for the project, wages will not be provided, but travel expenses may.


Q: Do you have to have a specific major/work under a specific office or college to apply? And, can people outside of Mason apply for funds?
A: All students, faculty and staff at all Mason campuses are eligible to apply for funds. People outside Mason can NOT apply for funds unless there is a Mason community member willing to act as the project manager for the project. 

Q: How many people will be granted funding?
A: This depends on the amount of funding applied for. We strongly suggest that facility improvement projects over $20,000 and research proposals over $5,000 seek other funding sources in addition to the PGF. These sources can be inside or outside of Mason, or may be personally funded through donations. (Note: Donations to any Mason effort will be provided with a donation receipt by the Foundation, for the purposes of tax deduction.


Q: What are some examples of previous approved proposals?
A: You can see the variety of projects that have been funded on the project summary pages for2011/2012 and 2012/13 school years. 

Q: Can I use the funds for an educational or awareness event?
A: No, the Office of Sustainability may be able to sponsor or co-sponsor your awareness event, but the PGF is strictly for implementing student research or facility projects. However, research or facilities proposals may include educational/awareness components in their budget and the PGF will fund them.


Q: Will someone from the Committee be available to attend my team meetings?
A: Unfortunately, we are unable to attend all of your project implementation meetings due to time limitations. However, during the process, your project manager will be able to direct you to the right Mason resources to assist you. If you find that you are hitting roadblocks that we may be able to clear for you with the administration, do not hesitate to contact, and they will direct your concerns to the Committee Chairs.


Q: How do I become involved as a Committee member for the PGF?
A: Students must be willing to serve a minimum of a one-year term and a commitment of 2-3 hours per week. If you're interested in applying please contact the PGF chairs at

Q: I would love to help Mason with its sustainability goals, but I don't think I can lead a project. Is there any other way I can assist?
A: Absolutely! There are many ways to become involved in campus sustainability. If you're a student, check out your options on the Students page. Faculty and staff check out your respective pages. We love to speak to classes, and love to meet new people, so feel free to give us a call or stop by!


Q: What if I need funds to complete a class project?
A: For classes that are encouraging experiential learning opportunities, we love to fund sustainability projects, and we understand that the turn-around time may need to be quicker than two months. For this, we offer a Quick Fund Award. Quick Fund requests are reviewed by the Chairs of the PGF Committee ONLY, and it allows a 1-2 week turnaround time on the preliminary and final proposals. When submitting your preliminary proposal, in the email, be very clear the projects needs a quick turn-around time, and that it is less than $1000.


Q: How are projects selected?
A: The Committee will take into careful consideration the logistical and economic concerns of each project. The Committee will choose projects that are likely to create a significantly positive environmental, social, and economic impact and are likely to have the ability to be self-sustaining or institutionalized after initial funding. Additionally, the feasibility and potential for successful implementation and adoption by the campus community will be considered before funding is granted.


Q: What if I want to do a technical project but don't have any technical expertise, like solar panels for example?
A: In theory, that should be okay, because Facilities personnel will be assigned to the project if it is approved and they will assist with making sure technical questions are answered. However (and this is a Big however), you will have to be interested in at least learning and assisting the Facilities personnel with whatever they need help with. Otherwise, the project will technically just be another Facilities project. The purpose of the PGF is to get you involved in the process of assessing the feasibility of a project, managing the project, learning some technical skills, and developing a plan to promote the project (through development of sign content, or kickoff events, etc). If you are unwilling to do these things, the project may be considered by the PGF, but passed along to Facilities to see if it is something they wish to fund on their own. The bottom line: The PGF provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn how sustainability really works in an organization, which is a great skill to have if you plan on entering the field of sustainability, or managing any large project with multiple players. So be very careful about the scope of your project - if you can't manage it, you need to either find someone else who can partner with you, or you need to understand that it cannot be funded.