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Amid the recent naming of BGSU’s Center of Excellence in Sustainability and the Environment, a nationwide push for “green” and environmental jobs, and increasing numbers of potential students educated in and knowledgeable about sustainability, the timing is opportune for the debut of BGSU’s Student Green Initiatives Fund.

Students, either individually or as groups, who have a viable “green” idea and plan for campus sustainability/environmental projects can now apply for some “greenbacks” to support their efforts, thanks to the new fund. While there is no set deadline for submitting a project application, projects proposed before the end of this semester could potentially receive financing to get under way in January.

Created by an opt-out, $5-per-semester student fee, the fund is administered by a committee of students and can be used to support a variety of projects. Similar funds are part of a rapidly growing trend at colleges and universities, according to Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, sustainability coordinator and advisor to the fund committee.

The criteria for applying to be considered for funding are that projects should make the campus more environmentally friendly, energy efficient or sustainable. Possible projects are diverse and unlimited, Hennessy said, and might include energy- and other resource-saving technologies such as solar panels, LED lighting retrofits, “living” roofs and “green” educational and training programs, as well as equipment to make virtually any office operation on campus more energy efficient.

There is no limit to the dollar amount that may be requested. However, the committee will attempt to fund as many worthy projects as possible, Hennessy said.

The green fund was approved in June by the board of trustees following a strong, student-led effort on its behalf and with the backing of a number of student organizations, including Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate.

“The fund is beneficial to students because it goes back into their hands by funding their own sustainability project,” said senior Daniel Jacoby, who was part of the student group that put together the original proposal to the trustees and sits on the current green fund committee. “The leadership provided and experience obtained in implementing projects will also be very valuable for students, not to mention that they will get the reward of seeing their idea come to life on campus.”

“Rather than sit by and watch things happen, this fund allows students to be part of the solution to sustainability issues and can put BGSU into the forefront in creating sustainable solutions,” said Laura Winebarger, another on the green fund committee.

To learn more about the green fund or to obtain an application, visit
www.bgsu.edu/departments/envp/pages/StudentGreenInitiativeFund.html.


 
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November 23, 2009

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