Green Fund projects vary in scale, ranging from the installation of several campus hydration stations to providing refills for reusable containers to the launch of a composting program that has diverted more than 36,000 pounds of campus food waste from the landfill since 2013.
“The Green Fund is extremely important to the university’s commitment to sustainability,” said Ty Allushuski, assistant director of admissions and UM Green Fund Committee member. “As a campus, we have made tremendous strides in recent years related to sustainability, and the Green Fund helps encourage sustainable practices and brings much-needed attention to the efforts.”
Students, faculty and staff can submit proposals as individuals, groups or departments.
The Green Fund Committee will review proposals and make selections using the project’s impact, visibility and feasibility as criteria. All proposers selected in the first round will be invited to speak at a public forum the week of Nov. 8. Proposal awards will be announced in late November.
“I like the two-step evaluation process in which the award committee was able to hear from the applicants in person and ask them questions,” said Jason Hoeksema, an associate professor of biology who received funding last fall to install native plants on a portion of campus. “Most grant proposal review processes don’t allow for this back-and-forth process, which is really valuable.”
The experience is beneficial for students in multiple areas, said Allushuski, who incorporates the proposal-writing process into his EDHE 305 course.
“The entire process of brainstorming an idea, researching the potential environmental impact, making contacts with different offices on campus and working as a group provides valuable skills and lessons for the students,” Allushuski said. “In addition, several of my students have had projects funded in the past, and this gives them a vested interest in sustainability and their own campus.”
Created in 2013 to fund sustainability projects on campus, the Green Fund is supported by the university as well as public donations. Since its establishment, the fund has supported more than 10 projects.
“My hope is that the Green Fund will continue to grow in size and in its impact on the Oxford-university community,” said Alex Borst, a senior international studies major from Madison and a student member of the Green Fund Committee. “The funds are there; we just need more innovative people to utilize them more often.”
To get involved with the UM Green Fund or to make a donation, visit http://green.olemiss.edu/.