April 25, 2016
For those seeking to develop their innovative and sustainable creations, the Green Action Fund can provide funds to get their research off the ground.
GAF is a committee of students, faculty and staff that take proposals for sustainably-minded projects from anyone on campus and can allocate money to help complete the project.
The pool of funding money is derived from a $5 solar fee paid by students every semester. As of April 19, the fund had $206,000 of unencumbered funds available to allocate, which increases by about $55,000 every spring and fall semester.
Summer enrollment provides anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000 depending on student attendance.
GAF has four types of grant applications and while the money isn’t meant to fund an entire project, the real-world experience and initial kick-start can be very beneficial to students.
One particular student group that was approved for a grant said their project would not exist today without the aid of GAF. A group of five students who created the Edible Landscaping project applied for a small grant through the GAF.
Edible Landscaping plants annual and edible plants throughout campus for students to take advantage of and admire on their way to class.
Junior Julie Lake and senior Amanda Roark, geography and environmental studies majors, are two of the five students in this group.
The team asked for $4,000, which covered the cost of items such as irrigation, compost, mulch, walkways, signage and plants.
Edible Landscaping is currently a pilot program.
Roark said their mission is to change student’s states of mind about producing their own food and being active in the community.
“Part of this project is to model to people that growing food is easier than you might think and to promote people having their own garden in their home and growing their own food as much as they can instead of going to buy it,” she said.
Julie Galusky, GAF project coordinator, said her office understands the money comes from student fees and they make sure to invest wisely.
“We respect where that money comes from and we want to make sure that it really does reflect our students and what they need, what they want, and what will most benefit them and our campus,” she said.
Galusky said there are four types of grants available to applicants. The first is the Research Seed Grant, which was just added this year and has a cap of $5,000.
Galusky said that the Seed Grant is given to smaller projects or those in the beginning stages of development to help them get started with their research or prototypes.
“We realized that there may be a need out there for students and faculty to just get some traction with their project in order to apply for larger grants,” she said.
The second type of grant is Conference Attendance. GAF will pay for a group’s traveling expenses if they attend a conference or contest relating to sustainability.
The third is the Small Grant, which awards $15,000 or less.
The fourth, the Large Grant, provides $15,000 or more to fund projects, not research. These projects have to be focused on changing the operations or practices on campus in some way.