ABOUT the Green Fund 

The Vanderbilt Green Fund is a $150,000 annual budget Vanderbilt set aside to finance and implement student-led ideas and projects that promote the environmental sustainability of our campus. The Green Fund was established in 2011 by SPEAR and VSG members to systematically decrease Vanderbilt’s greenhouse gas emissions by funding projects with both environmental and economic benefits. It also facilitates the engagement of students, faculty, and administration in the process of moving towards to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

Successful applications demonstrate evidence and data on how the proposal will decrease Vanderbilt University’s carbon footprint while ALSO saving the school money. We are always seeking innovative and educational ideas that improve sustainability on campus!


The Green-a-thon is a brief, friendly competition for Vanderbilt students to generate ideas on how to make the campus more environmentally sustainable. Students formulate an idea and present it to Vanderbilt faculty. Winning teams in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places will be awarded prizes, and the 1st place team will be automatically considered for the final stage evaluation in the proposal selection process.

Students can enter the competition as a group of three or individually (in which they will be paired into a group with other individuals). It is generally advised to come with a few ideas to facilitate the brainstorming process!

At the start of the event, students will receive a quick overview on what the Green Fund is and how it works. For about 50 minutes teams will brainstorm an idea and fill out a basic proposal outline of their idea. As they work, professors, members of the administration, and plant ops staff are available to provide technical advice and other suggestions. After brainstorming, each team will be given 2 minutes to present their idea and reasoning to everyone at the event. After each team presents, the panel will review the proposals and select the winning teams and ideas, with prizes awarded accordingly.

Try to include at least one of these aims in your proposals 

Proposal Information: 

*If you are not able to attend the Green-a-thon, you are still welcome to submit your proposals*

An example:  Low Flow Showers in Branscomb Proposal

Basic Information:

  1. Name of project
  2. Name of proposer(s)
  3. Email information
  4. Class year(s)
  5. Major(s)

Project Description:

A basic description of the project that identifies preliminary material, location and informational requirements.

Project Goal & Environmental Impact:

  1. A statement of the principle of eligibility under which the project falls (e.g., energy reduction)
  2. A description of how this project will meet that goal.
  3. An estimated impact the project will have on the university’s energy consumption, carbon footprint, and general sustainability.
  4. An estimated annual resource savings for the university (e.g. amount of water conserved). This is not referring to costs, but the specific amount of resources conserved, if your project does not save resources (educational), put N/A.

Project Costs & Payback Period:

  1. An anticipated (estimated) budget including construction costs, design costs, construction management costs (if applicable), demolition costs (if applicable), inspection fees, and other extraneous costs.
  2. Anticipated monetary savings and projected payback time based upon the estimated costs and savings.

Project Schedule:

  1. Ideal timeline for the implementation of the project. This does not have to be precise, but rather a goal for the project. 

Sign up for the 2024 Green-a-thon with this QR code!


Acetone recycler: Used acetone from chemistry experiments can be distilled and re-used to conserve acetone and save money. This project installs an acetone distillation machine in organic chemistry labs around campus.

Solar Dok Unit: Solar charging station for portable electronics (laptops, phones, iPods/iPads, etc.), including a picnic table, umbrella with solar panels, battery pack that stores renewable energy, and outlets and USB ports for charging up to 6 devices. Installed on patio at Commons Center.

High Performance Showers – High performance, low-flow shower heads were retrofitted to 820 existing shower heads throughout residential houses on campus over summer 2013. This retrofit is projected to save 28.5 million gallons of water each year on Vanderbilt campus.

Pollinator/Native Species Garden  Converting the circular garden space by Furman Hall into a pollinator garden as well as planting fruiting trees across the campus. The pollinator garden was proposed to contain a variety of perennial pollinator plants that are native to the Tennessee/Nashville area.

For more examples of past projects, click here

Any questions about the Green Fund or Green-a-thon? We’re happy to help