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 SRU trustees give green light to student-led Green Fund initiative 




June 6, 2008

Contact: K.E. Schwab  




SRU trustees give green light to student-led Green Fund initiative     


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's Council of Trustees today approved a student proposal calling for establishment of a Green Fund to support environmental initiatives on campus and in the community.

           The SRU plan is among a growing trend on college campuses across the U.S. to expand student involvement in on-campus and community "green projects." 

           The plan will go into place fall semester.

           Students voted 1,548 to 246 in favor of creating the fund as part of a spring, campuswide vote. Trustee approval was required to put the plan into effect.

           The account will be administered by a Green Fund Advisory Board that will include SRU students, faculty, an administrator, a representative of the facilities staff and a member of the off-campus community and will require presidential approval. The board will accept proposals and distribute funding for programs promoting environmental education and projects related to environmental sustainability. 

           "This is a project students initiated as part of their overall awareness and concern for the environment " said SRU President Robert Smith. "SRU has a history of providing environmental-related academic programs. We offer majors in environmental education and environmental science along with a master's degree in sustainable systems. Our leadership in environmental issues is strong. This fee demonstrates how concerned, motivated and willing our students are."

           "Our students are to be commended for their initiative, work and planning," said newly elected council chair Robert Taylor. "As trustees, we are pleased to be able to support our students in this worthwhile undertaking. I believe projects funded by The Green Fund will have wide benefit, not only on campus, but in the local and regional community. It is a good idea and it is a good project for SRU."

           Funds will be approved for sustainability-progressive projects, education programs and activities on campus and in the community. Research grants and scholarships may also be funded by the project.

           "I am extremely pleased trustees allowed creation of the fund," said Rachel DeWolf, an environmental studies major from Marshall, Mich., who also helped initiate and gain student approval for the plan. "We are thinking that such projects as the Green Bike Initiative, where bicycles are placed around the campus for anyone to use, thus decreasing car use, are projects that may qualify for funding. Other ideas such as education projects and programs to raise environmental awareness and facilities environmental modifications will also be considered. Individual students and campus organizations may begin submitting proposals next fall." 

           Other major SRU "green" projects already under way on campus include the SRU Foundation's new $120-million suite-style residence hall project which made use of numerous "green building" concepts throughout construction, including on-demand hallway lighting, energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning units, improved insulation techniques for energy efficiency and recycled materials that were incorporated into the wallboard used in construction throughout the project. "We knew we wanted to make these new buildings energy efficient, and we met our goal. The buildings are LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certified by the U.S. Green Building Council," said Edward Bucha, executive director of University Advancement who spearheaded the construction project. The final buildings will open with the start of fall semester classes.

           Across campus, energy-saving lighting has been installed in hallways and offices along with controls that monitor heating and cooling energy use to conserve energy in nearly every building. Steam lines, roof materials and other construction projects have been upgraded with energy conservation in mind.

           In addition, SRU's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, the on-campus think-tank laboratory, has served as a demonstration site for a photo-voltaic array showing electrical generation from the sun and is the home to SRU's wind turbine for electrical power generation. The site also demonstrates straw-bail construction and other sustainable system projects allowing students and visitors to see firsthand how sustainability and environmental projects can work. 


New master's program:

           Trustees agreed to submit a proposal to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors asking that SRU be allowed to offer a master of arts degree in criminal justice beginning fall 2009. The online program would meet occupational outlook statistics showing an increasing demand for criminal justice professions, said Bruce Russell, dean of the College of Business, Information and Social Sciences. The online program will be geared to those already working in the field, thus offering a schedule that meets their needs, he said.

           "Our current criminal justice undergraduate program is strong both in academics and in enrollment. The next logical step is to offer a master's degree for those seeking to enhance their professional opportunities," Russell said. Action on the request is expected at the governor's July meeting.


President's Report:

           In his report to trustees, Smith said, the state system's board of governors had granted approval to the SRU trustee's request to launch a master of science degree program in adapted physical activity in the fall. The governor's also approved a trustee-submitted bond funding plan calling for $37 million in construction for a new student union and approved the trustee's request seeking $4.6 million in a Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement. The energy saving plan is already under way with an expected 15-year payback. The state board also authorized a trustee request for construction of a 4,500-square-foot art studio at a cost of $900,000.

           In updating trustees about a new University Strategic Plan Smith has initiated, he said, "As a public university, we are committed to produce competent, civil and caring citizens willing to make their communities and possibly the world a better place for all people to live and work. Our students are already engaged. They already recognize these themes as ones they will have responsibility for addressing. In the coming year, we will develop a strategic plan and appropriate challenges to be addressed by our teaching, research and service."

           Smith cited a number of athletic achievements that led to the University winning the Dixon Cup, which is awarded by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference to the university with the most successful all-around athletic program. "Two-and-a-half years ago, we set out to do the right thing for our women athletes and to be in compliance with the law. Receiving this trophy means to our campus that you can do the right thing and remain competitive."  

           Kevin Reynolds, a 10-year member of the NCAA Division I coaching fraternity, who was recently named head men's basketball coach at SRU was introduced to trustees.


Annual inspection:

           Council presented its Annual Inspection of Facilities Report offering a building-by-building review of campus facilities. The report lists repairs, renovations and changes needed for each campus structure and sets a tentative timeline for each project.


New officers

           As part of its annual business, council accepted the nominating committee's recommendations by electing Robert Taylor from Solebury, chair; Grace Hawkins from Cranberry Township, vice-chair; and Josh Young from Coatsville, secretary. Taylor had served two years as vice chair and Hawkins had served as secretary.

Taylor, chair and chief executive officer of Cameron Companies, LLC., is a 1978 SRU graduate. He was named to the council in 2004 and reappointed in 2007. He received the University's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.



           Trustees were told of 24 instructional appointments, four professional appointments and six support staff appointments.

           Six retirements were announced: Hans Fellner, 41-year physics professor; Ann Kemmerer, 33-year professor of counseling and development; Deborah Mariacher, 16-year assistant professor in Academic Services; Ramona Nelson, 14-year professor of nursing; Joyce Penrose, 11-year professor of nursing; and Larry Gargasz, 22-year maintenance repairman in the facilities and planning.

           Professor emeritus status was granted to J. Robert Bruya, 36-year art professor, who retired in 2007, and J. Robert Crayne, 33-year art professor, who retired in 1996.


Routine items

           In routine action, council approved the minutes from the April 4 meeting, and the contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports. 


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.


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