Eleven Colleges and Universities Receive $100,000 in Catalyst Grants from Second Nature to Support Climate Action Projects

October 23, 2023

Eleven Colleges and Universities Receive $100,000 in Catalyst Grants from Second Nature to Support Climate Action Projects
Up to $10,000 awarded to each institution during Campus Sustainability Month

Boston, Massachusetts (October 23, 2023) – Second Nature, a national nonprofit working to accelerate climate action in and through higher education, announces the recipients of 11 Catalyst Grants from their Acceleration Fund, totalling $100,000. The grants are intended to spark decarbonization and climate resilience work, and support initiatives that advance climate justice. 

The grants were awarded during Campus Sustainability Month, which celebrates higher education’s role in advancing sustainable solutions. The funding was provided through Second Nature’s Acceleration Fund, first introduced in 2020 to support campus-driven climate action initiatives. Institutions in the organization’s Climate Leadership Network or University Climate Change Coalition (UC3) were eligible to apply.

“Second Nature is proud to recognize 11 outstanding projects that were selected from our largest-ever pool of applicants for Catalyst Grants,” said Tim Carter, President of Second Nature. “We received over 70 applications, reflecting a diverse range of climate action projects and institution types across the country. The volume, creativity and quality of the proposals speaks to the importance and urgency of the work being done by the campuses in our network. Congratulations to the grant recipients and a big thanks to all the applicants for striving to create climate solutions on campus and in their local communities.”

The institutions receiving the 2023 Catalyst Grants are:

  • Central Oregon Community College (Bend, OR): Central Oregon Community College will prioritize the development of a campus Climate Action Plan (CAP), utilizing Catalyst Grant funding for personnel to manage the technical and operational elements of CAP creation and support stakeholder engagement.
  • Earlham College (Richmond, IN): Earlham College’s Catalyst Grant funding will support the installation of a water line to the campus’ Miller Farm, which includes a production garden, several pollinator gardens, high tunnel, composting, and community garden. 
  • Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA): Morehouse College Center of Sustainability and Innovation will survey, monitor and evaluate the college’s overall progress at reducing inputs through single-stream recycling metrics to meet a goal of reducing by 20 percent its landfill contribution. 
  • Northeastern University (Boston, MA): Northeastern University’s Climate Justice and Sustainability Hub (CJ&S Hub) is developing an ongoing climate justice experiential learning program in conjunction with a local grassroots environmental justice organization, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE).
  • Paradise Valley Community College (Phoenix, AZ): Paradise Valley Community College will purchase native plants to recharge the water table and sequester carbon in its Food Forest, which offers fresh and healthy food, a living classroom for hands-on teaching experiences, a site for community gatherings, and a flourishing ecosystem. 
  • SUNY New Paltz (New Paltz, NY): SUNY New Paltz will use Catalyst Grant funding to bring together diverse stakeholders for engagement workshops to better understand the community’s hopes and aspirations for climate and environmental justice, research best practices, and recommend evidenced-based approaches for implementing climate justice principles.
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico): Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Sustainability and Climate Change Plan has a multi-pronged approach that includes building alliances and networks. The school will convene public and private universities in Mexico to form a Network of Mexican Universities for Climate Action to support community engagement, build capacity and assist campuses in setting carbon neutrality goals.
  • University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY): Catalyst Grant funding will support a series of workshops to build sustainable relationships between faculty, staff, students, and community members at University at Buffalo, in order to frame future climate justice work, develop a working group and long-term goals and use seed money from the Catalyst Grant for the initial implementation of projects.
  • University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (Eau Claire, WI): University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire is using Catalyst Grant funding to build out its carbon offset investment portfolio while simultaneously supporting the development of an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) course for students to learn about the ethics and purpose of utilizing carbon offsets.
  • Warren Wilson College (Swannanoa, NC): The Center for Working Lands at Warren Wilson College is restructuring its operations to serve as a training facility for students and regional landowners who are looking to reduce the climate impacts of land management while maintaining economic viability. The Center will provide a menu of climate-mitigating equipment for landowners to test, including an electric Solectrac tractor purchased with Catalyst Grant funding.
  • Western Colorado University (Gunnison, CO): Western Colorado University will hire a part-time Climate Justice Intern to ensure attention at all levels to climate justice and equity, involve students in the completion of its Climate Action Plan and deliver three participatory sustainability workshops. 

More information about the awarded projects, as well as a list of schools who submitted proposals, can be found on Second Nature’s website


About Second Nature:
Second Nature is committed to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education. This is accomplished by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions. Second Nature aims to align, amplify, and bridge the sector’s efforts with other global leaders to advance urgent climate priorities. Learn more at secondnature.org.

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