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Travel Awards

The Sustainability Travel Awards program provides funding for key sustainability conferences and programmatic events that increase PSU’s reputation as a leader in cutting-edge sustainability practices. In addition, we are seeking to lay the foundation for longer-term institutionalization of travel opportunities by focusing on those that provide the most impact.

The Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) has allocated $20,000 for students and $20,000 for faculty for the 2014-2015 academic year to further these goals. The award funds can be applied to airfare or mileage, conference fees, lodging, food, and other travel-related expenses as specified in the PSU Travel Guide (PDF)

Please note that our application guidelines and processes have changed as of May 2013. Please refer to the Sustainability Travel Award FAQs below for guidelines on the application process, which events are eligible, how the funding works, and how decisions are made

To start the application process, please select your PSU status:

  1. Student 
  2. Faculty and Staff

Award recipients, please complete an Impact Report within one month of completing your travel:


  1. Student Impact Report 
  2. Faculty and Staff Impact Report 


Sustainability Travel Award FAQ


Application Questions

When are applications due and when will I get notified about funding?

Applications are due the last day of the month before the dates of travel. If the last day is a weekend or holiday, applications are due the following Monday. Award notification will be made by email approximately two weeks after the application due date.


When can I apply?

We encourage you to apply at least one month before your dates of travel. For example, if you are leaving on July 15, please apply by June 1 or earlier. We generally do not retroactively fund travel.


Who can apply?

Current PSU students, recent PSU graduates (within 3 months), faculty, and staff may apply. Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) staff are not eligible to apply.


How many times can I apply?

Applicants may apply more than once for different travel opportunities during the academic year (July 1-June 30); however, priority will be given to those who have not previously received an award during this fiscal year.

When can I travel?
Travel can occur at any time. Funding decisions will be contingent upon receiving conference acceptance or other applicable documentation.


Event Questions

Does the event have to be related to sustainability?

Yes, sustainability should be the main focus/theme of the event. Consideration will be given to sustainability presentations at other events.


Can the event be outside of the United States?

Yes, funding is available for international and national travel.


Do I have to present at the event?

It depends. Funding is available for faculty, staff, and student groups to simply attend an event. However, ISS does not offer funding for a single student to attend an event without presenting. 


What type of event does it have to be?

ISS does not fund travel for self-directed or informal events. The event must be formal and organized by an official organization with appropriate documentation and publication materials, such as a website. If you have a specific request, please contact the Travel Awards Team at before you apply.


What if I know an event, like a conference, will occur, but it hasn’t been announced yet?

You may not apply for travel funding until the event is formally announced. 


Funding Questions

How much money will I get?

Awards will be given in various amounts based on the application’s merit, alignment with priority criteria, and availability of funding. ISS reserves the right to partially fund an award.


What is the maximum amount that I can request?

Faculty, staff and students who are presenting at a conference can request up to $1,000. The maximum amount available for event attendance only is $350. For student groups, requests can be made for up to $500 per person. 


How will I receive my award money?

Awards are given on a reimbursement basis after the completion of the proposed travel, with the possible exception of airfare and conference registration (see below).


Do I have to pay for everything upfront?

It depends. It may be possible for ISS to directly pay for your airfare or conference registration after you’ve received award notification. Requests for direct payments should be made by emailing Travel Awards Team at


What happens if plans change or I can’t go?

If, for any reason, recipients do not attend or participate in the function as described in the application, the award will be cancelled. The applicant may apply for future funding.


Decision Questions

Who reviews my application?

A team of ISS staff.


How are decisions made?

Applications are scored against a set of criteria, and funding decisions are made based on application merit and availability of funding.


What are the decision criteria?

Preference will be given to:

  • Applicants who have not previously received ISS funding.
  • Applications and budgets that are clear and complete.
  • Applicants with departmental or grant matching funds.
  • Applicants with multiple presentations at a single conference/event.
  • Presentations that are directly related to larger efforts, such as submissions for publication and research collaborations.
  • Programmatic associations that are part of a larger multi-year initiative and align with priorities set forth by the dean and department chair.
  • Participation that provides high impact opportunities or benefits, such as networking with research collaborators, securing additional funding, learning current best practices, etc.
  • Participation that provides students with additional opportunities or benefits that extend beyond the funded travel event.
  • Participation that aligns with one or more of the three ISS sustainability focal areas: (1) ecosystem services, (2) social determinants of health, (3) urban sustainability.

Who do I contact with questions?

Please contact the Travel Awards Team at or 503-725-9940.