Water refill stations in academic, dining, and residence facilities; nearly 100 bike racks at strategic and convenient locations across the university; and the Math Emporium’s sustainable makeover are just a few of the many sustainability projects in action today at Virginia Tech thanks to student engagement.

But how do students turn their sustainability ideas into real-life projects that create lasting change for Virginia Tech?

Through the award-winning Green RFP Program.

In the 10 years since the program's inception, the university has accepted and funded 83 student proposals for sustainability initiatives and upgrades on the Blacksburg campus and in the local community.

Each fall, the Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability seeks proposals from student groups for campus sustainability projects that support the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and have a strong focus on energy reduction and conservation.

Details and application requirements for the 2020-21 Green RFP Program were announced on Sept. 21 in a Virginia Tech Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities memorandum.

The memorandum provides students with detailed information on the program, criteria to review their proposals, the proposal format (which is similar to the standard university budget call), and much more.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Sustainability will continue to offer this unique program to students.

Students still have the opportunity to gain all the benefits of the proposal process, including acquiring real-world experiences that will serve them not only in the sustainability field, but in almost every sector; gaining first-hand project management, business writing, and budget experience; and receiving invaluable mentorship.

The Green RFP Program provides students the unique opportunity to work alongside and learn from a long list of subject matter experts at Virginia Tech. These professors, faculty members, and university leaders help students discuss and advance their ideas and provide guidance around calculating costs and potentials savings of their projects. 

Student engagement remains integral to the university's sustainability efforts. Students have played a critical role in the ongoing Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment revision process as members of the working group leading the updates process and associated subcommittees; in sharing feedback in community convening sessions this spring; and in drafting final recomendations this summer. 

The working group's final Climate Action Commitment report is currently going through the university governance process this fall and is set to be finalized later this year.

How to apply to the Green RFP Program and additional details

Click here to download the proposal application. All proposals must be submitted via email by Nov. 20, 2020, at 4 p.m.

Proposals that support the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment, produce realizable savings, and require one-time (as opposed to ongoing) funding are generally given preference.

Approved proposals will be announced in the spring semester of 2021.

Click here to learn more about the Green RFP Program. For more information or for any questions, contact the Office of Sustainability at 540-231-5184 or at denniscc@vt.edu.

Written by Christy Myers

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