February 12, 2010

‘Green Fee’ funds available for green projects

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Want to be part of the move to make Southern Illinois University Carbondale a “greener” campus? Here’s your chance.

All SIUC students, registered student organizations, faculty, staff, offices and departments may submit applications now through midnight, Feb. 24, for funding for green projects during the spring and summer semesters. The $10 per semester student Green Fee has brought in more than $200,000 since initiated in the fall 2009 semester and now, the SIUC Sustainability Council’s Green Fund Committee is seeking proposals for renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability projects and research at the University.

The emphasis is on reducing the University’s impact on the environment or society in one or more of the following areas: energy, water, waste, buildings, purchasing, grounds, food and dining, social equity, academics and research, transportation and education and outreach.

There are a few additional simple requirements for all project applications. The proposed projects should advance campus sustainability and feature educational, outreach and research components. Involved campus units must grant project approval before funding awards and the proposals can’t include requests for faculty or staff salaries.

The Green Fund Committee, whose membership includes three students, one faculty member and one staff member, will make recommendations to the full council.

“Students will have the majority vote on any funding decision, as it should be. It’s their money and they’ll decide how it’s spent,” said Paul Restivo, chair of the SIUC Sustainability Council and director of the Center for Environmental Health and Safety.

He said the committee will give preference to projects that have significant student involvement or leadership, projects that can obtain matching funds, those with the greatest benefit to the University for the least cost, and those that are collaborative in that they involve multiple units and departments. The possibilities are endless, he said, from proposals for guest speakers and special events to physical projects like a wind turbine, solar panels or upgrading a replacement roof to a “green” roof.

“We anticipate a little bit of everything in these applications,” Restivo said. “There have been a number of students, faculty and staff saying ‘I have this great idea.’ Now is the time to submit those ideas as Green Fund project proposals.”

You can find the Green Fund grant application guides at http://sustainability.siuc.edu/greenfund. Completed applications can’t exceed 2,500 words and must be in Word or PDF format. Send them to greenfund@siu.edu with the project name in the e-mail subject line.

The application deadline for fall 2010 projects is midnight, March 31.

For more information, e-mail greenfund@siu.edu.