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Green Fund gets the green

By Sierra Vaughn

Issue date: 9/26/08 Section: News on Rock Pride
 
Leave It Green, a student environmental organization, was allotted $71,470 on Sept. 23 by President Robert Smith from the university's overall budget to be used for the Green Fund.

Last year, Leave It Green introduced the idea of the Green Fund. It proposed that $5 be added to every full-time undergrad student's tuition in order to help make SRU a more environmentally friendly campus.

Leave It Green organizers Rachel DeWolf, a 21-year-old junior geography major, and Allie Bernstein, a 21-year-old senior environmental studies major, opened the meeting on Thursday with DeWolf saying that different environmental groups can apply for grants using the money in the Green Fund to do all sorts of "green projects."

DeWolf said the university students at large, with an 86 percent approval vote, accepted the Green Fund last spring. Before the Green Fund was approved, it was decided that increased fees would have to be paid through tuition in order to help pay for a new union, but the university's hands were tied when it came to asking Harrisburg to allow another raise in tuition.

The idea of adding an additional $5 to students' tuition for the Green Fund will be reintroduced in 2011. DeWolf said for now, Smith has allotted $35,735 to be used per semester by the Green Fund. This amount is equivalent to $5 per every undergraduate full-time student.  

In an email, Smith said, "The money came from the university overall budget. We manage funds all year long to assure priorities are paid for."

Smith said they get savings from purchases where they thought it would be one price and it was less. 

"Sometimes we have jobs that are not filled so that money is then available to be budgeted," Smith said. "To stay flexible and progressive, we pay close attention to these changes so that we can take advantage of opportunities such as the Green Fund."

The Green Fund Advisory Board was created last year to review the applications.  A group of administrators, faculty, students, and a community member make up the Green Fund Advisory Board, which is headed by Dr. Jerry Chmielewski, the chair of the biology department.
 
Bernstein explained that each year, Leave It Green focuses on tackling one big project.

"We have done one big project in the past and that is what our goal for this year is, too," DeWolf added. "If we can do more than that we will be happy.

As the biggest project for the year, Leave It Green hopes to get a conservation easement for a piece of the campground near the Ski Lodge so the piece of "green" cannot be disturbed during the development and construction on campus.

In explaining this idea, DeWolf said, "That campground is what started Leave it Green in the first place when they wanted to turn it into a parking lot."

Other smaller groups will be created to handle small projects.

"We would like the off-campus apartments to recycle," Bernstein said. "To do this we think we would have to go to the landlords. This would be a project for one of the small groups to solve."

An overall goal for the organization is to create a better campus, DeWolf said.

"We want to encourage students to take part in environmental issues taking place on campus because this is their campus," DeWolf said.

Bernstein added to the idea of the campus also putting in an effort.

"It is all of our responsibility to leave it better than we found it for future students," Bernstein said.

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