Green Fund Looks Toward Sustainable Future

Environmentally-conscious groups attended Student Assembly’s meeting to support the Green Fund.

The proposal for a university Green Fund was presented at the Student Assembly meeting on Monday, Jan. 29.

Presiding over the meeting was a large number of student audience members who came out to support the initiative.

This group in the audience belonged to CNU’s Green Team, Roots & Shoots, and students in environmental leadership courses.

Monday’s meeting opened with an address from Student Assembly President Kenneth Kidd, which led right into the Green Fund proposal. The proposal was presented to the delegates and audience by June Laffey and delegate Svetlana Gureyeva.

The purpose of the Green Fund, says Laffey, is to “obtain capital necessary to [perform] green and sustainability projects on campus.”

The goals of the Fund are to “transform Christopher Newport University into a more sustainable campus for students and faculty to work, learn and live; to ensure that beneficial and profitable sustainability initiatives do not go unfunded due to monetary constraints; to transform Christopher Newport University into a leader in sustainability and a model for other small, liberal arts colleges; to promote collaboration between faculty, students and professors; and to promote sustainable behavior and educate Christopher Newport University and the Newport News community on sustainability.”

According to the presentation, CNU’s need for a Green Fund comes from a lack of an official sustainability budget on CNU’s campus, to improve the current campus recycling rate of eight percent and to match up to the sustainability expectations of other colleges and universities statewide where CNU is not matching up.

One point in particular that was brought to attention is that several colleges have students pay an annual fee that puts money into a university green fund. An example was that William and Mary has students pay $15 per semester for their green fund.

In the survey, 89.2 percent of students said they would support a two to three dollar fee for a campus Green Fund. 

Students voiced their opinions for the need of a Green Fund with a Student Assembly backed petition, which gathered 546 signatures in one year, as well as an independent survey from Dr. Benjamin Redekop’s environmental leadership course, which included 583 responses within a two week period. 

Project ideas within the survey included refillable water bottle stations, a campus-wide recycling program, reusable to-go boxes, an electric car charging station and revitalizing the East Campus garden. 

Laffey and Gureyeva included that with the aforementioned details of the Green Fund, the proposal is malleable and open to comments and suggestions that students give. They also included that even if the Green Fund proposal is approved, it will not be put in place instantly. The plan may take a few years to go through different phases of review before it is implemented.

At the conclusion of the proposal, the floor was opened to delegates then audience members to voice their opinions and concerns. Four audience members spoke up with words of support, the speakers included members of Roots and Shoots and student supporters.

Students are always encouraged to attend Student Assembly meetings or to stop by the Student Assembly office on the third floor of the David Student Union.

Photo courtesy of PSD Graphics