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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Green Fund approves 21 sustainability projects for 2013-14 school year

Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat Green Fund committee chairman and doctoral candidate Jesse Minor examines a tree ring sample that came from Southern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains. The sample pictured grew from 1796-1978 before dying, and shows signs 16 fire scars earned from brush fires it encountered throughout its growth.

A new set of sustainability projects designed to “green” the UA were approved for financial support.

Twenty-one projects were selected from nearly 50 proposals and will be implemented during the 2013-14 academic year. These projects will be supported under the Green Fund’s annual allowance and will include infrastructure improvements, facility upgrades, new course offerings and other educational programs.

Some of the projects that were approved include new green experiments for the organic chemistry laboratories, which would allow students to gain a better understanding of the impact of chemical processes on the environment and a collaboration between SolarCats and the UA’s Parking and Transportation Service to retrofit golf carts to use solar power.

“We look for projects that make the UA a more sustainable institution,” said Joe Abraham, director of the UA Office of Sustainability. “There is a big focus on involving students for them to learn hands-on and get something really tangible out of it.”

This year, the Green Fund received 46 grant proposals, which fund one-to-three year projects that
will commence in July 2013, said Jesse Minor, a doctoral candidate in geography and chairman of the Green Fund committee for the 2012-13 academic year.

“I think that regardless of what people’s opinions on sustainability are, it is framing ideas that are related to sustainability that makes sense at a university like this,” Minor said. “The UA has facilities in every single county. It has a statewide footprint, a statewide mission and has a series of roles that extend far beyond what Tucson is. Its mission is to come educate, to produce and provide repair but also to take that research and connect that back to the UA.”

The Green Fund announced the chosen projects and funding will be distributed July 1, Minor said. The goal is to ensure that the decisions made are supported by a wide range of students, Minor added.

“I think that sustainability can provide a strong educational experience but it can also have concrete results in terms of outreach and research,” Minor said.

The Green Fund also funds Mini Grants of up to $1,500 for current-year projects up. This year, the Green Fund has received 15 MiniGrant applications and has funded 10. An additional four Mini Grant applications came in after Green Fund’s last public meeting and members will vote on those additional Mini Grants at a public meeting on April 9.

The Green Fund committee is also accepting applications for membership until April 11 for next year. The plan is for six of the 10 seats to be filled and announced before the semester ends, Abraham said.

“I think that sustainability is something that everyone can wrap their mind around, but it is hard to know where to start,” said Chrissy Lieberman, associate director of students and Green Fund adviser. “There are lots of different things that make it complicated to understand the green fund. [The green fund] really gives us the commitment to help grow real projects that other departments may not be able to fund on their own.”

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