PGF FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the PGF?
  2. What is the application process?
  3. Who is eligible to apply?
  4. Who selects the PGF recipients?
  5. How do I submit my application?
  6. What are the important deadlines for applying?
  7. Who can I contact with questions?
  8. Can I earn academic credit for my project?
  9. Can PGF funds be used for feasibility studies?
  10. Can part of my award be used for travel expenses?
  11. 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?
  12. How many people will be granted funding?
  13. What are some examples of previously approved proposals?
  14. Can I use the funds for an educational or awareness event?
  15. Will someone from the PGF Committee be available to attend my team meetings?
  16. How do I become involved as a Committee member for the PGF?
  17. I would like 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?
  18. What if I need funds to complete a class project?
  19. How are projects selected?
  20. What if I want to do a technical project but don’t have any technical expertise, like solar panels for example?
  21. How does the funding work?

What is the PGF?

It’s a $100,000 per year sustainability fund devoted to making Mason’s campuses more sustainable through infrastructure improvements and student research projects.

What is the application process?

Eligible applicants submit the PGF interest form to the PGF Committee. A member of the PGF Committee will provide you with one on one support and guide you through the application process. Visit the How to Apply for Funds page to learn more and apply.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any current student, faculty, or staff member may apply for funds to support a sustainability project.

Research projects must have an undergraduate or graduate student leading the project – research projects led by faculty alone are not eligible.

Infrastructure projects requesting over $20,000 are strongly encouraged to apply for other grants and/or obtain funding from other Mason departments. Students leading infrastructure projects are strongly encouraged to have a faculty or staff mentor.

Who selects the PGF recipients?

The PGF Committee is made up of two staff members, two faculty members, and five students.  Decisions are based on a scoring rubric focused on project impact.

How do I submit my application?

Eligible applicants submit the PGF interest form to the PGF Committee. A member of the PGF Committee will provide you with one on one support and guide you through the application process. Visit the How to Apply for Funds page to learn more and apply.

What are the important deadlines for applying?

Please visit the How to Apply for Funds page to view the current semester deadlines. Projects under $1000 are eligible for the Quick Fund process and can be submitted at any time. Submit the interest form to get started.

Who can I contact with questions?

The PGF program manager is available to answer questions. Please email pgf@gmu.edu with any questions you have about the PGF.

Can I earn academic credit for my project?

This depends upon your field of study. Please contact your academic advisor to find out whether you can use your project as an independent study.

Can PGF funds be used for feasibility studies?

Yes, but they must include an experiential learning component. You’re encouraged to work with Mason students and faculty to conduct the feasibility study. If you choose to use an external company, they must be willing and able to include students in their work.

Can part of my award be used for travel expenses?

No, the PGF may not be used for travel expenses. However, if you are an undergraduate student you may be eligible to apply for the OSCAR Undergraduate Student Travel Fund. If you are a graduate student, you may be eligible to apply for the Graduate Student Travel Fund. Faculty are encouraged to speak with representatives from their college, school, or program about travel expenses. Staff are encouraged to speak with their supervisor.

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?

All current 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.

How many people will be granted funding?

This depends on the amount of funding requested. We strongly suggest infrastructure 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 they can 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.)

What are some examples of previously approved proposals?

You can see a list of the projects that have been funded since the PGF began in 2011 on the PGF Recipients page.

Can I use the funds for an educational or awareness event?

No, the Office of Sustainability may be able to sponsor or co-sponsor your awareness event, but the PGF is strictly used for implementing research or infrastructure projects. However, research or infrastructure projects may include educational/awareness components in their budget and the PGF will fund them.

Will someone from the PGF Committee be available to attend my team meetings?

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 appropriate Mason resources to assist you. If you find that you are experiencing challenges, we may be able to help address them. Please email the PGF at pgf@gmu.edu and a member of the PGF Committee will support you.

How do I become involved as a Committee member for the PGF?

Students must be willing to serve a minimum of a one-year term and commit 2 to 3 hours per week. If you’re interested in applying, please visit the PGF Committee page to learn more or contact the PGF at pgf@gmu.edu.

I would like 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?

Absolutely! There are many ways to become involved in campus sustainability. Explore our website, follow us on social media at @GreenGMU, and email us at gogreen@gmu.edu to learn about more ways to get involved.

What if I need funds to complete a class project?

We will fund sustainability projects for classes that are encouraging experiential learning opportunities. We also understand that the deadlines for the PGF might be challenging for your class schedule. This is why we offer a Quick Fund Award.

Submit the PGF interest form to the PGF Committee to get started. A member of the PGF Committee will provide you with one on one support and guide you through the application process.

How are projects selected?

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 positive environmental, social, and economic impact and are likely 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.

What if I want to do a technical project but don’t have any technical expertise, like solar panels for example?

That’s okay! Before you apply to the PGF, we encourage you to contact faculty and staff members about your project idea to see if they’re able to support you. Speaking with your academic advisor and exploring the Institute for a Sustainable Earth’s faculty directory are two excellent resources.

If you’re having trouble making connections with Mason folks, that’s okay. Submit the PGF interest form to the PGF Committee to get started. A member of the PGF Committee will help you get connected with amazing Mason faculty and staff. In addition, they’ll provide you with one on one support and guide you through the application process.

How does the funding work?

  • PGF funds are available immediately upon the Committee’s funding approval. Project funds must be expended by May 31st  unless special permission is requested.
  • PGF funds may be allocated to purchase supplies and materials essential to the completion of the project.
  • PGF will not reimburse students for items purchased directly. All purchases should go through the university and obey all the purchasing rules. All funds are transferred to university departments or offices that purchase supplies and materials; PGF funds are not issued directly to students.
  • Infrastructure improvement projects requesting over $20,000 and research projects requesting over $5,000 are strongly encouraged to apply for other grants or obtain funding from other Mason departments.
  • If you have any questions, email pgf@gmu.edu for help.