Cougar Changemakers

Mission Statement

The Cougar Changemaker Program aims to empower the campus community to create and implement innovative sustainable projects through an accessible, adaptable, and well-supported changemaking framework.

Program Overview

Up to $5,000 is available for student-run, student-driven projects that seek to make the College of Charleston a more sustainable campus.

Project Themes
(Including but not limited to)

  • Advocacy (e.g. environmental justice, social equity, accessibility)
  • Art related to sustainability
  • Campus infrastructure (e.g. waste, energy, water, grounds)
  • Climate change
  • Economic/Financial sustainability
  • Food sustainability
  • Research or experimental project
  • Sustainable procurement
  • Transportation
  • Well-being 

(Please remember, though, as you are thinking of themes and ideas--smaller is better and more manageable.  Many well designed projects nudging us all towards sustainability across campus is more obtainable than very large graondoise project ideas that lack scope and direction and that are hard to implement.)

For more information about how to get your project funded, click here!

Important Dates

  • October 8, 2021: Interest Forms DUE
  • October 25, 2021: Deadline to meet with Cougar Changemaker Student Committee 
  • November 8, 2021: Full Proposals DUE
  • November 15, 2021: Winners Announced! 

Cougar Changemaker Student Committee

The Cougar Changemaker Committee is a body of five or more students who receive the project proposals and collectively decide which projects will receive funding. These students come from a range of academic backgrounds including business, political science, the physical sciences, anthropology, etc. The inclusion of a range of majors allows the committee to apply diverse perspectives and expertise in assisting applicants during the formulation of their proposal and in the final project assessments. All committee members report to the Committee Chair who is a current intern with the Center for Sustainable Development and the coordinating official for the Committee.

Working with the student Committee offers a number of benefits that will give participants experience and help to develop their professional skills.

  • As mentioned previously, the Committee Chair position is held by an intern. Working with Cougar Changemakers as a Committee Member is an excellent way to get your foot in the door if you are looking to work with the Center as an intern.
  • Current committee members will be invited to attend professional development workshops with Sustainability.
  • This experience will look great on a resume! Working in a cooperative team environment to help facilitate the development of project proposals and assessing whether or not a project should receive funding shows that you are able to handle a significant amount of responsibility, delegate tasks and manage time efficiently. 

Committee members serve at minimum one semester. 


Please fill out this brief application, and someone will be in touch with you shortly. Any and all students are encouraged to apply.


Funded Projects

Little Free Library

Funded Spring 2021

The Little Free Library provides an opportunity to share as well as contribute knowledge through the use of reused materials. There are environmental, economic, and social benefits to the newly installed Little Free Library. It promotes the reusing of old books and reduces the amount of books being bought. It is a huge resource to students who are not able to buy books on their own. It also promotes education and learning by being a free service to the College of Charleston community. Thanks to a 2021 Cougar Changemaker proposal, a Little Free Library was installed outside the Center for Sustainable Development (14 Green Way) and is available for students to provide and/or take books as they please!

Residential Composting Pilot Program

Funded Spring 2021

The College of Charleston has successfully implemented composting in the dining halls, but there is limited access to composting outside the dining halls unless students created their own, which is time and space consuming. The Cougar Changemaker Program made it possible for the College to partner with an organization called Compost Now to increase the prevalence of accessible composting in the campus community. This company provides compost bins to monthly subscribers, collects the compost from the subscriber on a weekly basis, and returns a clean bin to the subscriber. This composting initiative is  an easy and attainable change that students can make to reduce and repurpose food waste and similar organic matter. The pilot program will begin in Warren Residence Hall in Fall 2021!

Rain Barrels

Funded Spring 2021

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from the roof, then allows you to repurpose the rainwater and dispense it accordingly. Environmentally, rain barrels can reduce excess stormwater buildup that causes erosion and flooding. There are also economic benefits to installing rain barrels. It was estimated that rain barrels saved about 1,300 gallons of water for homeowners during the peak summer months. Thanks to the Cougar Changemaker Student Project Funding Program, rain barrels were installed in Spring of 2021 at 26 Coming Street and at the Grounds Building at 45 Coming Street for water needs around campus.

Nitrile Glove Recycling

Funded Spring 2021

The Cougar Changemaker program helped to create nitrile glove recycling stations in labs around the School of Sciences and Math Building at the College of Charleston. It is an unfortunate reality that chemistry labs use lots of plastics disposables, as this is sometimes necessary to keep students safe and prevent contamination. Having a specific recycling station for the nitrile gloves will prevent hundreds of pounds from going to the landfill and help keep SSMB as sustainable as possible.


How do I get my project funded by Cougar Changemaker? 

Application Process 

  1. Submit Interest Form. This form will gather preliminary information about your project so we can better assist you with the full proposal. Once submitted, you will receive an email from the Committee Chair confirming your submission. The Committee Chair will be your main point of contact throughout the process. They will be there to answer questions, provide feedback, and assist in the creation of the full proposal.
  2. Prepare & Submit Full Proposal. Use the provided budget template to detail your project expenses and submit with your full proposal. The full proposal will be reviewed by the student committee and the faculty advisor. If they contingently approve, it will then be reviewed by a CSD staff member for the final approval. If not approved, the proposal will be returned with feedback.
  3. Sign Funding Contract. All applicants are required to review and sign a funding contract with the CSD. The contract will be provided by a CSD staff member. 
  4. Implement Project. After the contract is signed and the funds have been fully dispersed in full, you may implement your project.
  5. Submit Final Report. This report must be submitted within two weeks of project completion.


Funding Requirements:

  • Project team must be led by an official project leader that is a current College of Charleston student. Faculty and staff may serve as mentors for a project, but the project lead must be a student.
  • Must make a positive, sustainable change on the College of Charleston campus; all tangible aspects of a project must be completed on College of Charleston property. 
  • Educates students or provides educational materials for College of Charleston students about the sustainable impact of the project.
  • Methods of implementation must be feasible and the timeline to implement the project must be reasonable. All steps of the project should be described as detailed as possible.
  • Costs must be reasonable; requested funds must be reduced as much as possible. 
  • If the project is implemented and completed, the proposal must include methods to advertise the project to students about the purpose and existence of the project. 
  • Cannot be a revenue generating project. The Cougar Changemaker Program cannot fund a potential business as Cougar Changemaker must be sure all revenue from the project must be for a sustainable change on campus. 
  • Cougar Changemaker cannot fund any travel expenses.
  • There are no limits on the amount of projects an individual can submit, but an individual’s project must be completed before the individual can apply for funds for another project.

Procurement Requirements: 

  • All project leads must coordinate with the Center for Sustainable Development before initiating an approved project
  • A funding contract must be signed before initiating an approved project
  • All funds must follow the South Carolina state procurement guidelines


Important Documents




Updated: July 2021