Conference Funding for Students

Students are encouraged to attend sustainability-focused conferences during their time at Columbia as another way to expand their practice-based experience. The program offers financial support to students for conference-related activities, including but not limited to: presenting research (in a talk or poster session), participating in workshops, and attending seminars. Students are required to submit an itemized budget with their application.  Awards will vary in amount according to individual travel needs.


Eligible conferences may take a variety of forms: university symposia, annual meetings of professional organizations, international conventions, etc. provided that the primary topics are sustainability/environment-focused and the activities further a student’s studies in the sustainable development program.

Both individuals and groups may apply for funding. Students must be officially declared in the sustainable development major or special concentration at the time of the application. Funds support travel and accommodation costs, conference registration, visas (for international conferences), and other expenses. Please note that grants may be subject to taxation, and/or affect your financial aid package. We recommend you follow up with your financial aid office and/or tax advisor if you have questions.


The application deadline is rolling September 1 – May 1, but must be submitted at least four weeks before the departure date for the conference as there are several time-sensitive steps that must be completed before travel begins. If interested in attending a conference during the summer, the application must be submitted by the May 1 final deadline.

Before Submitting an application:
  1. Log into the Undergraduate Travel Web App and review the Undergraduate International Travel Policy.
  2. Submit for approval a School Sponsorship application to the Undergraduate Travel Review Committee, no later than 4 weeks prior to departure.
  3. Schedule a site-specific travel health assessment with Student Health Services (appointments fill up quickly, especially before spring and winter break)
  4. Confirm you will have adequate health insurance that covers routine and emergency care for the duration of the proposed travel (travel insurance is also recommended). 5. Review travel information and country-specific travel warnings.

If selected for funding, students will be required to:
  1. Register with ISOS and complete any additional requirements per the University’s Undergraduate International Travel Policy.
  2. Attend a pre-departure meeting at the Earth Institute and complete all required paperwork.
  3. Draft a post about their experience for the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet blog.
  4. Participate in a presentation of their research at the annual spring Earth Institute Student Research Showcase.