How to Give:
Visit the Yale giving page (bit.ly/YBGfund) and enter “YBG sustainability fund” as the designation with your gift amount. Follow the rest of the prompts to complete your gift. If you are interested in giving major amounts, please contact Becky Bunnell ’78, for further details. Thank you!
Impact To Date:
The Sustainability Fund is already having an impact. In February 2021, Melissa Goodall, Deputy Director of the Yale Office of Sustainability (YOS), reported on the first year’s impact of the Sustainability Fund, a current use fund for students, student research, programs, events, marketing, online communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration, established in 2020(. In the 2020-21 academic year, the Fund has supported work in three areas
- The Global University Climate Forum–In summer 2020, YOS launched a program modeled on past programs hosted by the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), where Yale is a member. Previous workshops were held in 2009 at UN Climate Change Conference (COP15), and in 2012 during the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro . In each case students from 15-19 universities around the world participated. This program is aimed at inspiring student climate activists around the world to develop and execute an actionable project that would yield measurable results over the course of six months. The Office accepted 135 teams of students – just shy of 600 students overall – from 44 countries. During this academic year, they have participated in workshops, monthly briefings, and mentoring with YBG alumni. The teams will present final reports in May, and a Yale publication will present their work at COP26 in November 2021. The Fund supported the work of a Yale junior, Jon Michel, to coordinate student outreach and social media. Further information can be found here: https://campuspress.yale.edu/climateforum/
- The Biodiversity Plan–This year YOS is developing a Campus Biodiversity Plan, headed by Mairéad Brennan YC 20 in coordination with Yale School of the Environment and Yale Grounds Maintenance. The team is developing recommended tree and plant lists, chemical use and maintenance standards, pervious and impervious surfaces details, educational and research opportunities and a business case for cultivating biodiversity on campus. The maps and the Biodiversity Plan should be done this coming summer. The Fund is supporting one student working on this effort.
- The Arts Area Green Space—As part of the effort to develop sustainability action plans for nearly all the professional schools, we have focused on three. Representatives of Art, Architecture, and Drama have collaborated to promote safe and healthy reuse of materials, enhance greenspaces in their area, and prevent bird strikes on their buildings. This effort has been coordinated by Nivanthi Karunaratne, School of Music ’20, and the Grounds manager for that area. The YBG Sustainability Fund will provide supplemental funds to support the vision.
- We are grateful to Melissa for a successful launch of the fund and for all her years of service to Yale as she moves to take on a new position with the University of Pennsylvania.
How the Funds Will be Used:
We are starting this Sustainability Initiative Fund as a current use fund to allow the Office of Sustainability to accomplish a range of things to drive sustainability at Yale. The types of things this fund might be used for are:
- Support for student research assistants or fellows for the Office of Sustainability
- Funding for student research and travel for sustainability-related topics
- Augmenting programming or capacity related to priority topics such as carbon neutrality or biodiversity
- On-campus visibility such as events
- Global visibility such as Yale’s presence at global gatherings.
- A reinvigorated and cohesive online presence for Yale’s teaching, research, and operational commitments pertaining to climate change and sustainability
- A platform to foster interdisciplinary collaboration on global challenges
The priorities will likely evolve year-to-year as Yale’s sustainability efforts evolve.
One of our long-term goals is to create a permanent endowment for a similar purpose. If this spendable fund meets the university’s minimum for endowment ($100,000), we can then consider taking that next step. This would be set up as a second fund.
Another goal is to create an additional spendable fund, and eventually another endowment fund, to be administered by the “Academic side” of the University. This would allow funding for an endowed chair that could really drive multi- disciplinary research and academic programming across all parts of the University.
Official usage description of the Fund:
The fund shall be used to support the activities of the Office of Sustainability as Yale creates, tests, and adopts innovative sustainable solutions to environmental and related social and economic challenges. Activities may include, but are not limited to, programming, communications, events, alumni engagement, and support for student assistants and early-career interns. Activities should also include, but are not limited to, initiatives that drive global leadership in integrated sustainable actions.