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Green Fund accepting applications for committee membership

Green+Fund+accepting+applications+for+committee+membership
Courtesy Julia Rudnick

Applications for the Green Fund Committee are now open until the deadline, March 31 at 11:59 p.m.

The Green Fund is a $400,000 fund collected from student fees. The committee provides funding in the form of mini-grants and annual grants. Mini-grants are for projects that will be completed by June 30 and have a cap of $1,500 per project. Annual grants are given once per year to projects that could take a year or longer. The annual grants for projects directed by or with UA employees vary in amount.

All projects need to improve sustainability at the UA by increasing renewable energy and efficiency, reducing waste, promoting water conservation or education, research and outreach initiatives.

Environmental studies senior Diego Martinez-Lugo, this year’s vice chair of the Green Fund Committee, said the work the committee does is vital.

“This is an important structure to have students dictate how the money is used,” Martinez-Lugo said. “It’s really important work, and I love the dialogue.”

Larissa Lee, a second-semester graduate student studying natural resources, joined the committee in January after seeing an opening on the School of Natural Resources and the Environment listserv. She was excited to learn more about the Fund.

“It’s so amazing that we have a sustainability fund—$40,000 annually is huge,” Lee said. “It’s student fee money, so these are student decisions. It’s great that I get to support those things. We’re recruiting the next leaders in sustainability.”

The Green Fund Committee is comprised of 10 students: six members elected at-large, through the above application, two elected by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and two by the Graduate and Professional Student Council. Committee members can be undergraduate or graduate students and do not have to be in any specific field of study. The only requirements are that applicants have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, have paid the UA registration fee and are not on academic probation.

RELATED: UA grad student researches impacts of drought on rural California

Julia Rudnick, coordinator of campus sustainability programs, said the Green Fund Committee is looking to get members from as many areas of campus as possible to get a diverse way of thinking about campus and sustainability.

“I encourage everyone to apply, regardless of interest in environmental science, because this is fee-based,” Rudnick said. “A dancer might not really care about or know about sustainability, but they should decide how those fees are spent. The background information can be provided to them.”

Lee said the committee is interested in students who are involved and demonstrate they’re committed to the Green Fund’s mission. 

Martinez-Lugo added passion for environmentalism or sustainability to the list. He also said representatives from any green community group that’s underrepresented are strong candidates.

Martinez-Lugo himself joined to ensure the committee had a “more equitable balance of students of color.”

“I was very involved in other green things on campus, like Students for Sustainability, which seeks considerable funding from the Green Fund,” Martinez-Lugo said. “It seemed like a great opportunity to get involved in a more administrative role.”

Rudnick said every student should have the opportunity to be on a committee.

“Students are here to get life experience, and this is the second biggest financial decision students will make, besides buying a house,” Rudnick said. “How often can you say ‘I gave away $400,000 this year?’”

Being a Green Fund Committee member requires one hour per week at meetings for most of the year to read and decide mini-grants. Three meetings per month are closed to the public and one is open.

In February and March, meetings change to three hours, all closed, to review the annual grants that were due in January, Martinez-Lugo said.

RELATED: Sustainability projects vie for a piece of $400,000 in Green Fund grant monies

“That’s when the Green Fund Committee requires a significant amount of time, energy and patience,” Martinez-Lugo said.

Lee said during those busy months, time is required outside of meetings as well.

“It takes some time to read over the grants,” Lee said. “We usually read about eight before each closed meeting in our busy months, so about two hours, plus the three hour meeting. We always have to take into consideration how many students are affected and the overall student impact on sustainability. We have to represent campus and what we think the students want.”

Rudnick said students who are on the committee learn skills like group work, negotiation, how to have an effective meeting and leadership.

“This is how a student can leave a legacy,” Rudnick said. “You say when you graduate, ‘I got a lot from the university, but what did I leave behind?’ You get to choose your impact, and the impact of the Green Fund Committee is that it allows students, faculty and staff the ability to work with each other and on sustainability projects that benefit the campus, the community and the students.”

According to Martinez-Lugo and Rudnick, the application is straightforward and not too lengthy, only requiring a resume, two references, answers to a few questions and background information.

Rudnick recommended thinking about personal value when applying.

“Everyone is apt to say what they will get out of it, but say what you’ll bring to the table,” Rudnick said. “Tell them what you’ll add to the committee.”

Martinez-Lugo had more technical advice: Fill out the application on Google Drive, then copy it into the form, because the website times out and will delete entered information. The application form can be found online, and selections will be announced in mid-April.


Follow Marissa Heffernan on Twitter.


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