Until Monday, May 4, students will have the opportunity to submit applications for The Green Fee. Created in 2011 by a Union student, the Green Fee must fall under four main criteria: being submitted by a student with collaboration from faculty and staff, measurably be able to reduce Union’s carbon footprint, be educational and not cost more than $25,000.
In 2011, student Erin Delman petitioned for funding to reduce Union’s carbon footprint on the environment, and since then, the Green Fee Governance Committee has been created to carry out projects every year.
The Committee consists of a faculty member, David Gillikan, a staff member from Facilities, Paul Matarazzao, the sustainability coordinator, Meghan Haley-Quigley, and five student voting members: the Vice President of Sustainability Anna Doran ’16, a committee on committees representative Aarifa Gowani, an ESPE representative Jamie McNulty ’15, and Environmental Club representative Maya Whalen-Kipp ’16, and a U-Sustain representative Jordan Pulling ’15.
“The primary goal of the committee is to allocate the $25,000 that comes out of every student’s student activity fee to a student-proposed project with the goal of reducing Union’s carbon footprint,” stated Pulling.
The committee will receive anywhere from two to ten proposals each round of the year.
“A good proposal greatly reduces Union’s carbon footprint, is feasible to implement on campus, and is creative,” Pulling remarked. “An ideal candidate would be a student who is passionate about their project and its goals and is dedicated to seeing the project carried out and successful.”
In the past four years, projects have been successful in the Union community. The best way to make Union a more “green” college is by spreading the word on the process, and encouraging more students to submit their ideas.
Two years ago, Sam Muratori ’13 won the prize by proposing the Ecobee thermostats for housing on Seward Place.
Muratori’s idea implemented a phone application that would allow students not only to control the temperature of their living spaces, but also to see how much energy they were saving by turning the heat on and off when they weren’t in their rooms.
Not only did Muratori’s idea make energy saving a more transparent activity for Union students, but the results also made an incredible impact, cutting energy use by a third.
Last year, Forrister Ross ’14 won with a plan to utilize Lucid dashboards in first-year residence halls. This idea would allow students in these residence halls to view how much energy they were using in the entire building.
This technology will be included in the new apartments on Roger Hull Place as well.
“This year is really exciting because there are a lot of people interested in the Green Fee,” Pulling remarked. “Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one project, but in the end there is usually one that stands out more than the others. We do have the option of funding more than one as long as the total is under $25,000, but that opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet.”
One does not need to be specializing in environmental policy to submit an idea. Winning projects have come from students spanning all walks of academic life, and the more proposals the committee receives, the bigger an opportunity there will be for change.
“We funded one project in the fall that involved putting solar panels on the new residence hall, and that was actually increased by administration when they saw what we were planning,” Pulling stated, “So that’s exciting, and we have another round coming up so I’m excited to see what the students have in store for us!”
Any students with potential ideas should submit them to The Green Fee Governance Committee by May 4!