Green Action Fund receives three project proposals for the semester

October 25, 2016

Dillon Taunton

dtaunton@uccs.edu

     Since its start in 2012, the Green Action Fund has awarded 81 grants to student and faculty proposals that they hope will improve UCCS’ sustainability.

     GAF encourages students and faculty members to submit applications for sustainability projects that they can then fund.

     This fall, GAF has not awarded as much money as their current budget allows them to. The fund has an annual budget of $110,000 this year, according to Julie Galusky, project coordinator for the Office of Sustainability.

     “This (budget) is a moveable ceiling due to reserve funds from previous funds. As of now we are no where near spending that, so we encourage more proposals” said Galusky.

     So far this semester, GAF has received three project proposals before the November deadline.

     One project approved is to make sure UCCS serves seafood from sustainable fisheries in our dining facilities.

     Dining and Hospitality Services was certified through the Marine Stewardship Counsel after passing an audit on Sept. 22.

     GAF is funding one quarter of Dining and Hospitality Services’ funds to hire a sustainable seafood chef, said Galusky.

     This chef is coming in December to educate students about sustainable fishing practices and how to prepare fish.

     Take Back the Tap is another project being funded, which is an initiative in its fourth year as of this fall, and GAF is planning to study how it has impacted students.

     “Some of the successes thus far have been the installation of filling stations for water bottles, and the University no longer selling plastic water bottles,” said Galusky.

     The success of this and other sustainable projects are evaluated based on effectiveness.

     “To be sustainable we must recognize the three aspects of sustainability. There is the environmental piece, the social piece, and there is the economic piece. We think of sustainability as a design issue, not political,” said Galusky.

     Projects that require large grants should be proposed by Nov. 4 and those requiring small grants are due by Nov. 18, according to Kimberly Reeves, program manager for the Offi ce of Sustainability.

     Any proposed project should reduce the ecological footprint, increase student involvement, provide education and outreach, have long-term feasibility and detail how it will impact UCCS.

     GAF was inspired by students who were interested in sustainability on campus, according to Reeves. The initiative was originally known as the solar fund fee in 2008, which aimed to increase the amount of solar power devices on campus.

     “Students wanted to see a broader use of those funds to incorporate the social and environmental aspects of sustainability so it then turned into the Green Action Fund,” said Reeves.

     Each proposal is read by Galusky and then further analyzed by a committee to determine how the project will help UCCS become more sustainable.

     The proposal team must present their project at a GAF committee meeting to explain why their project is important to campus sustainability and the budget associated with it, according to Galusky.

     Accepted proposals can be funded by four types of grants, said Galusky.

     Small grants are given for projects that are under $15,000 and large grants are given for proposals that are over $15,000. Groups interested in going to a sustainability conference or sustainability research will receive seed grants, said Galusky.

     A $5 fee that supports GAF’s budget also funds grant money for project proposals.

     “The proposal team has to do a presentation, the team comes to a GAF committee meeting and they make their presentation about why their project is important to campus sustainability, and the budget associated with it,” said Galusky.

     Applications for proposals and more information on GAF can be found at uccs.edu/~gaf/.