During its inaugural semester, the Green Fund received three official applications for possible campus environmental projects by its deadline on Dec. 1. Funded by an optional $15 per semester fee, the idea for the Fund was initiated last year by Julia Michaels ’12 and Julia Jonas-Day ’12 after they attended a Power Shift 2009 workshop about green funds, which devote money to developing sustainability projects on campus.
The Green Fund, which was working with $40,000 in its first semester, is managed by a student-elected five-member group and advisor who review project proposals aimed at decreasing the carbon footprint of the University, decreasing waste, increasing the University’s use of renewable energy sources, and increasing the visibility of environmentally responsible practices on campus. The committee is also trying to engage students to get more involved in environmentally sustainable projects.
Proposals can be submitted by any current student, faculty, or staff member; if a project is too expensive for the Fund alone to finance, the University, Student Budget Committee (SBC), or Physical Plant may sometimes step in to provide additional funds.
The only proposal which has been approved for funding by the Green Fund Committee so far is a request to support composting initiatives on campus, including labels and magnets that list what items students can put in green machines dispersed around campus.
Two other project ideas are currently under consideration by the Green Fund Committee. One is a proposal from student group WILD (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design) Wes which would provide funding for landscape design speakers to come to the University as part of a student forum next semester.
If the committee chooses to fund an idea, they then meet with the individual or group of individuals who submitted the proposal to discuss the logistics and plan of action.
“What’s nice about the process for reviewing applications is that since this is the first year of the Green Fund, there are no set boundaries on what does or what does not constitute as a project that the Green Fund will consider for funding,” said committee member Delphine Starr ’14. “It’s really an opportunity for the Wesleyan community to decide on what they want to see happen on campus.”
According to Evan Weber ’13, another member, the committee considers the costs and environmental impacts of proposals and approves ideas on a rolling basis, with the intention of not focusing all money in one narrow area.
“We want to try to fund a diversity of projects,” he said. “The point of the Green Fund is that it’s supposed to fund projects that Physical Plant wouldn’t normally be working on.”
Green Fund projects are not limited to student proposals. The committee is also working with Physical Plant to consider installing green roofing and a greenhouse.
After a busy initial semester of drafting by-laws and establishing allocation procedures, the committee plans to focus more on developing projects next semester. With relatively abundant resources, they hope that people will use the time over winter break to think of more proposals.
News Editor Jeremy Keim-Shenk contributed reporting to this article.