Project proposals are due March 19 for the spring 2017 funding cycle of the Office of Sustainability’s Green Fund.
The Green Fund committee is comprised of five students, two staff representatives and two faculty representatives. It hears project proposals from other students, faculty and staff at the university and determines which ones will be the most realistic, feasible and visible on campus.
Proposals can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nineteen projects have been funded since the program’s development, like the addition of hydration stations on campus, the UM Compost Program and the J.D. Williams Library low-e film installation. The compost program started as a pilot project where students composted food waste from the Marketplace at the Residential College. It was then expanded to the Rebel Market because of its success.
The university now provides a baseline of $7,500 a semester to support projects, but the fund also receives donations, which are matched 50 percent by the university.
Senior biology major and student representative Kelli Coleman said she would like to increase awareness of the Green Fund and engage more students through activities like fundraisers outside the Student Union.
“I’d like students to know that it exists and that it’s there to support their ideas and give them an opportunity to leave a lasting impact on campus,” Coleman said. “It’s difficult to engage students in something they’re not familiar with. The main goal is to advertise and get the word out.”
The students who work with the Office of Sustainability have composted more than 77,000 pounds of campus food since the project began in 2013.
Senior political science major and student representative Natalie Minton said she believes even the smallest ideas can make an enormous difference and everyone should try to submit an idea.
“The Green Fund is important to our campus because it is an organization that is active in turning sustainability ideas into realities every year,” Minton said. “This means that the university is constantly growing and improving, and the Green Fund is a huge part of that.”
The Office of Sustainability’s Green Fund has awarded more than $45,000 in funding since it was founded in 2013.
The Green Fund was created after student environmentalists held a campus-wide vote on the creation of a fund for sustainability projects in 2011. Of the 1,800 students who voted, 95 percent were in favor.
The goal of the organization is to financially support sustainability-related projects for things like transportation, waste reduction and energy efficiency.
Lindsey Abernathy, project manager at the Office of Sustainability and committee chairperson of the Green Fund, said the program has been very beneficial to the university.
“It’s really just an avenue to help make campus more sustainable and to allow students, faculty and staff an outlet to actually implement some of these projects they might have in mind,” Abernathy said. “It’s a very neat way to make an impact on campus.”
“What we look for in Green Fund projects is, if we fund it, then how can it become a sustainable project that will continue on in the future,” Abernathy said.