A resolution to authorize the Green Fund fee for the next five years was approved unanimously by the Board of Trustees Finance Committee at the board of trustees meeting last Friday, Dec. 11. The resolution will be voted on by the full board of trustees in early 2020.
Started in 2011, the Green Fund is a student-directed fund financed by a $15 fee each semester that students can choose to opt out of. Between 93 and 97 percent of students have contributed to the fund by paying the $15 fee over the past five years, according to Green Fund Facilitator Oriana Tannenbaum ’20.
The Green Fund provides funding for proposals for on-campus sustainability projects, which can be submitted by University students, faculty, or staff. The members of the Fund have worked together to illustrate what environmentalism can look like on a college campus.
“The Fund seeks to spur creativity, community building, and impact through environmentally focused measures,” Tannenbaum wrote in an email to The Argus. “The Fund has created a substantial and lasting impact on the Wesleyan community by offering funding and guidance to a diverse array of individuals and groups.”
Examples of projects completed in the past few years range from electric car charging stations and industrial compost bins to solar-powered roving generators.
By meeting with every funding applicant and holding internal team meetings to discuss project ideas, the Green Fund supports proposals that will create an environmentally conscious, active campus and leave an impact on Wesleyan.
“The projects that the Green Fund has chosen to support represent the breadth and depth of environmentalism we hope to help foster on campus as well as a multi-pronged approach to sustainability on campus in which there is ‘no single right way to be an environmentalist,’” Tannenbaum wrote.
Tannenbaum hopes that the Green Fund will receive more proposals in the coming semesters and eventually become a support structure for intersectional and non-traditional environmentalism on campus. When moving forward, especially in the upcoming spring semester, Tannenbaum wants to encourage all ideas and proposals.
“All of the committee members want to make a sustained and enhanced effort to ensure that Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff know that even non-traditionally environmental efforts and groups should seek funding from the Green Fund, and that we are here to work with them in a collaborative way to ensure an environmental component of their project,” Tannenbaum wrote.
Tannenbaum has worked with the Wesleyan Green Fund since her first year and believes it has played a significant role in helping the University grow in its efforts to be more environmentally conscious.
“I wanted to fund a substantial and long-term way to actively engage in work that expands the scope of environmentalism, sustainability, and environmental justice on campus,” Tannenbaum wrote in an email to The Argus. “The Green Fund’s work has helped Wesleyan significantly advance its environmental progress, with impacts on the physical landscape, energy use, activism and student action as well as amplifying student, facility, and staff voices on subjects related to environmentalism.”
While the Green Fund is devoted to bringing environmental solutions to Wesleyan, it is not alone in its push for environmentally-aware college campuses. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, which supports Green Funds at institutions of higher education higher institutions around the world, lists 217 Green Fund organizations globally.
“It is great to see that allocating funds specifically for sustainable environmental initiatives is occurring across the globe,” Tannenbaum wrote.
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