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Aalto University funds students' sustainability actions with tens of thousands in a year – “This is something we haven't seen anywhere else”

Aalto University’s Sustainability Action Booster is a pioneering grant designed to ignite student-owned sustainability initiatives. Since its launch in May 2023, the grant has been a trusted source of support for impactful sustainability actions initiated and owned by the students on campus and even beyond.
Photo collage of some of the actions funded by the Sustainability Action Booster grant
Photos: Never Too Short Stay; Be(e) Involved – Making Beekeeping on Campus More Accessible; Charred Wood for Communal Building; Actionable Sustainability Talks – Two Aalto Projects in Action; Sustainable Connections–Aalto Alumni Networking Night with ASC

University is currently funding students’ sustainability actions with € 60–80K annually, during 2023–2024. Thus far, the grant has funded 24 impactful actions, covering a wide range of activities, including events fostering networking and sustainability dialogues, a mobile kitchen utilizing on-site harvested ingredients from the Test Site, beekeeping, workshops around sustainable materials, artistic interventions, prototypes and more. 

The grant model of Aalto University is unique even on a global scale. The Sustainability Action Booster aims to promote an experimental and student-owned sustainability culture on campus and even beyond.

"I dare say that we have been among the first to offer students such a grant model for sustainable development ideas. This is something we haven't seen anywhere else," says Jasmin Järvinen, project manager of Sustainability Action Booster.

Grants can be applied for on a rolling basis for projects with funding requests ranging from € 500 to € 5,000. Larger grants of € 5,001 to €10,000 can be applied for twice a year.

"Our goal is to avoid cumbersome bureaucratic application processes, which is why we have developed a flexible and ongoing application period. We promise students a response to applications under €5,000 euros within seven working days of submission. We hope that this lighter process will give students time and energy to focus on what really matters – doing, rather than bureaucratic hurdles," Järvinen explains.

Applying is easy! Here’s how individual students or teams can apply:

  1. Check out the grant criteria and guidelines from our website. Only the main applicant needs to be a student from Aalto University, as we want to encourage collaboration within and outside of our university!
  2. Apply for the grant: The grant is awarded according to the application and the budget estimate. Download our budget template and fill it in while sharpening your idea. We've strived to make your planning easy!
  3. Pick the grant size that suits you the best and jump to the application form to finalize your application. Submit! Easy as that.
banner photo with the sustainability action booster logo

Apply for the grant!

Apply for the Sustainability Action Booster expense grant!

Sustainability Action Booster

24 actions and counting

Currently, several exciting student-led projects that are open for all are underway, attracting a growing number of interested students. For example: 

  • Aalto Repair and Rewear has been organizing regular, free of charge workshops about repair methods and upcycling old textiles into new clothing, soon to establish a hub providing materials and expertise for textile and garment repair. The first two workshops, focusing on mending knitwear and woven fabrics, were met with success. The next workshop, focusing on alterning clothes, will take place on 9th April, at Space 21. The event can signed up via the project’s Telegram
  • Smoothies & Movies hosts complimentary movie screenings paired with vegan/gluten-free smoothies every Thursday from 19:30 at Space 21. The sessions have been facilitating interdisciplinary dialogues and curating a comprehensive sustainability-related film collection for the Aalto community.
  • Never Too Short Stay promotes sustainability in student living, showcasing how students can incorporate secondhand furniture and sustainable daily practices into their lives through artistic filming and stories. 

Looking ahead, more granted actions are in the pipeline. The next round of up to €10,000 grant applications opens in Autumn 2024, alongside continuous opportunities ranging from €500 to €5,000. 

Funded Actions

Get inspired from our previous and ongoing actions! Please see all of the funded actions here.

    Beekeeping on Campus

    Be(e) Involved – Making beekeeping on campus more accessible

    Otaniemi's buzzing secret!

    Nestled in the green bushes, hugged by the gardens of the Test Site, is one of Otaniemi's best kept sustainability secrets: a bustling little corner filled with bee nests! An active community of enthusiastic students looks after these bees, providing weekly hive inspections, and harvests delicious honey yearly in August.

    Sustainability Action Booster grant was used to support purchasing new beekeeping equipment, protective suits, and materials for re-constructing the hives, so that the initiative could become even better known in our community, making it easier and more accessible for anyone to join or participate!

    • Find the organizer and the location: Adela Navratilova and Francis Albert Devasagayam 📍@aaltotestsite (School of ARTS and SCI
    • Grant sum: € 2 855

    Photo by Vera Väänänen, 2023

    Charred wood for communal building project in action

    Charred Wood for communal building

    The charred wood facade is a sub-project of the bigger A-frame restoration project at the Test Site. The A-frame is a unique student experimental project located on the Otaniemi Aalto University campus. The purpose of the project was to complete a pre-existing open-air wooden structure and turn it into a covered space. It offered a hands-on sustainable experience to all participants through a low-tech building practice, ecological material sourcing, and social sustainability. The action-takers aim to provide an inclusive space to host various community activities linked to The Test Site and other university-related initiatives.

    • Find the organizer and the location: Nathan Pottier with a team of 12 and more volunteers from Aalto Sustainability Club & The Test Site (School of ARTS and BIZ)
    • Grant sum: € 2 000

      Photo by Charred Wood for communal building, 2023

    Mending workshop in action

    Aalto Repair and Rewear

    This initiative aims to create a hub that provides both materials and expertise for textile and garment repair. Among students, the group have noticed a lack of confidence and skills when it comes to mending or altering their clothing.

    To address this, the group will offer regular workshops covering a range of repair methods, from minor fixes to alterations and upcycling old textiles into new clothing. This will empower students to prolong the life of their garments and cultivate a repair-oriented mindset. Additionally, these action-takers will curate a library of learning materials, both physical (books and patterns in our space) and online (a website cataloging useful resources). This library will empower students to continue learning independently, even outside the workshop.

    • Find the organizer and get involved: Thekla Weisskopf, and the team of 2 from BIZ & ARTS. t.me/aaltorepair, 📍Space 21
    • Grant sum: € 4 402

      Photo by Aalto Repair and Rewear, 2024

    More information & join us!

     Jasmin Järvinen

    Jasmin Järvinen

    Sustainability Action Booster project lead
     Jussi Impiö

    Jussi Impiö

    Head of Sustainable Solutions
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