The Sustainability Fund provides grants for projects that improve the environmental sustainability of Claremont McKenna College (CMC). These grants allow students to pursue innovative and entrepreneurial ventures at CMC that increase sustainability and environmental awareness, and have the potential to yield positive returns on investment. Projects address one or more of the following criteria:

  • Reducing the use of electricity, carbon based emissions, and water;
  • Mitigating pre- and post- consumer food waste;
  • Facilitating positive effects on the financial stability of the College, particularly with an understanding of future implications of the project;
  • Integrating environmental, social, and economic concerns;
  • Promoting collaboration among a variety of stakeholders;
  • Improving the health of the natural environment with understanding of local and global ramifications of the project; or
  • Educating the campus community.

The Sustainability Fund Committee (SFC), an independent body of students, staff, and faculty, will award grants to student campus sustainability projects in amounts up to $2,000 through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process. The Fund is sponsored by a $5,000 grant from the President’s Fund at the Roberts Environmental Center (REC). The RFP process will open at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

Past Projects

Building and Energy Management Internship

 The Building and Energy Management position serves to aid CMC in reducing its emissions in a cost-effective manner by creating a baseline and tracking current emissions through sustainability reporting, greenhouse gas emissions reporting, and building and energy management. The internship also increases the number of student sustainability positions on our campus and assist in setting an efficient emissions reduction pathway.

— Andrew Bradjan ‘22, Sam Becker’19

Sustainable Dining Intern

The Sustainable Dining Intern position was created in collaboration with Jennifer Carbajal and has been revised with Pam Franco, the new Manager of Collins. The position will be filled during Spring 2020 and Fall 2021. The Sustainable Dining Intern will work with Collins to help make its day-to-day operations more sustainable. By working with dining staff and students to initiate and implement programs that seek to reduce and divert food waste and encourage consumption of more sustainable food, this intern will reduce CMC’s carbon footprint and, thus, contribute to CMC’s efforts to be carbon neutral by 2050.

— Carolyn Weisman ‘21, Tallan Donine ‘21, Sam Becker ’19

Impossible Burger Bar

Working with the staff of Collins Dining Hall, students helped administer an Impossible Burger Bar event that featured the first perfect substitute to the beef hamburger—the “Impossible Burger”. The event occured in October and was nearly identical to the Impossible Burger bar event from March 2018 that was planned with Jennifer Carbajal and Chef Paul at Collins. The Impossible Burger is a new innovative product that looks, tastes, and cooks exactly like beef but is made from plants. This is not your typical faux beef burger, however—it is made using a proprietary technology that produces hemoglobin from plants, thus making it a true perfect substitute. By serving the Impossible Burger for just one meal, Collins and the wider CMC community will decrease its consumption of beef by 50 pounds (or 800 ounces). By eating a perfect substitute like the Impossible Burger, one saves 75 feet of land, averts the equivalent water usage of a 10-minute shower, and spares 18 driving miles of greenhouse gases.

— Alex Brussell ’18.5, Sam Becker ‘19

Diva Cup Promotional and Informational Event by Power of Women

With the Diva Cup Event, Power of Women (POW) aims to provide a safe environment to engage in critical discussions around periods, and empower trans-men and cis-women to counter societal shaming of periods. POW provided a presentation on the environmental and societal issues linked to periods, particularly regarding waste, financial burden, trans issues, and patriarchal norms. We also demonstrated how to use a menstrual cup. Afterwards, we hosted a movie screening on the theme of empowering women. 

— Zoe Carlson ’22, Gayle Lee ’20, Jamie Bitz ‘22, Liv Baker ‘20, Laura Brenalvirez ‘22, Miriam Farah ‘23, M. McCue ‘23, N. Augustyn ‘23, and A. Larson ‘23

Greenware Reusable Solo Cup Initiative

This collaboration is an effort to disrupt the cycle of waste produced by the purchase of single use plastic cups at events and parties. This program is implemented by the EAC through the Eco Reps. Through an effective awareness campaign, we are certain that students would find the statistics on the toxicity of cups alarming. The goal of this initiative is to adjust the current GreenWare policies to encourage students to use reusable cups.

— Anna Graves ‘20, Zoe Carlson ‘22, Savi Rathi ‘21, Hallie Spear ‘22, Isa Jia ‘22, Grace Lu ‘23

CMC ReRoom Program Facilitation Grant

The ReRoom program seeks to end the cycle of waste by collecting resalable items that students do not want at the end of the school year and reselling them to first-year and returning students. Because local organizations are flooded by the sheer number of donated items, many end up disposing of perfectly good items because they have limited space. ReRoom provides students direct access to functional items that are cheaper than or on par with the price of items at local thrift stores. ReRoom also provides students with a source of employment during finals week and the week before all students return to campus, both of which give students an opportunity to make money at a time when most CMC student jobs are not in action.

— Sam Becker ’19

Sustainable Event Manager

The position of a Sustainable Event Manager can help make events at CMC more sustainable. This position would support clubs and organizations to plan events more sustainable including food, utensils, etc. This would reduce the use of one-way-plastic on campus. A Sustainable Event Manager could join any event team and consult them on sustainable options at their events and how to encourage students to make use of them at events and elsewhere. 

— Ben Eibl ‘23

Garden Cultivation Program

This proposal seeks to cultivate gardens in these beds, which provide fresh vegetables for the student body, a more aesthetically appealing landscape, and part-time employment for a dedicated student garden manager. Seeing gardening in action will hopefully inspire students to think about where their food comes from, support local food producers, and join sustainability efforts that address issues on and off campus. The gardens will also provide a small habitat for native species, such as pollinators and other insects.

— Tallan Donine ‘21, Sam Becker ’19

Perspectives of the Environmental Movement Speaker Series

The Environmental Affairs Committee at CMC hosted an Environmental Speaker Series at the Athenaeum in the Fall of 2018. Speakers included Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Professor Julie Sze. Each of these speakers offered an important perspective of the environmental movement. Students also had the opportunity to chat with the speakers, learn about local initiatives, and to sign up for a day of action, such as lobbying for various environmental policies at the local, regional, and state levels.

— Tallan Donine ‘21