Funding Sustainability Efforts at Laurier
Many students throughout their university careers have come up with unique business ideas which they would have capitalized on had it not been for a lack of resources. Attempting to solve this problem, Laurier launched the Sustainability Hawk Fund (SHF) in 2015. This organization funds students and staff on Laurier campuses so that they can help develop “sustainability ideas that benefit the Laurier community.”
Every year, the fund donates $30,000 to sustainability ideas, developing and helping to fund student projects that improve our planet through their integrated sustainability.
Students need only complete an application for their idea, including projected budgets, expenses and how the project relates to the sustainability goals of the fund. This ensures that the project contends with issues such as climate change, transportation and affordability.
Examples of funded programs within the past include HiRide, a carpool program for post-secondary students; EarthSuds, a travel toiletry made without the use of plastic; and LastXX Apparel, a clothing company that integrates PET plastics into clothing.
After applications have been submitted, the Sustainable Campus Committee, a group comprised of staff, faculty and students judge the pitches and decide which are worthy of funding.
Applications are assessed on the following criteria: How they relate to the goals of the fund, the completeness of the project and succinctness of the description alongside how the project addresses issues of equity. Further, it examines the quality of the pitch and presentation.
In 2021, the fund awarded $30,000 to six projects pitched by members of the Laurier community. These projects include a Microplastic Awareness Campaign; SmileTabs, a sustainable toothpaste, planters on the Waterloo main campus, a program to divert and reduce food waste, an initiative to expand upon Laurier’s recycling program and a unique plastic pavement solution that substitutes bitumen (a substance harvested from petroleum) with hard-to-recycle plastics.
The 2023-2024 Sustainable Hawk Fund applications are open from November until January, giving every member of the WLU community a chance to find funding for their smart and sustainable ideas.
The SHF not only provides students with a way to fund an idea that benefits the Laurier community, but offers a way for students to plan, budget and design business – giving real-world experience to complement in-lecture theory.