PGF FAQ

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.

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 learn more and apply.

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.

The PGF Committee is made up of two staff members, two faculty members, and five students. More about the Committee can be found here.

You can find the different applications on the PGF How to Apply for Funds page. Please email completed applications to pgf@gmu.edu

Please visit the Apply for Funding page to view the current semester deadlines. Projects under $1000 are eligible for the Quick Fund process and can be submitted at any time.

Once your application has been approved, the PGF program manager will be available to answer any questions regarding your project. Until then, you can email pgf@gmu.edu with any questions you have about the PGF, your project, or sustainability at Mason.

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.

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. The answer would be more affirmative if the study is done by Mason faculty and students.

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

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.

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.)

You can see the variety of projects that have been funded on the project summary pages for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 school years.

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.

Unfortunately, we are unable to attend all of your project implementation meetings due to time limitations. However, during the process, the PGF program 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 pgf@gmu.edu, and they will direct your concerns to the Committee Chairs.

Students must be willing to serve a minimum of a one-year term and a commitment of 2 to 3 hours per week. If you’re interested in applying please contact the PGF chairs at pgf@gmu.edu

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 regularly present to classes, and enjoy meeting new people, so feel free to give us a call or stop by!

We will fund sustainability projects for classes that are encouraging experiential learning opportunities. We also 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, as it allows a 1 to 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.

The PGF 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.

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.