The Daily Gamecock

Sustainable Carolina fund to introduce campus projects

Student Government partnership mirrors similar SEC proposals

Sustainable Carolina and Student Government recently unveiled the Student Sustainability Fund, which will allow students and groups to submit proposals for sustainable projects.

These projects are intended to "support a sustainable future, produce financial savings and reduce the campus environmental impact," as stated in a press release from Sustainable Carolina.

The program is modeled after various others like it in the SEC and area universities. The University of Georgia, whose UGA Campus Sustainability Grants Program is one of the programs after which the Student Sustainability Fund is modeled, doled out $13,000 in campus sustainability grants to four projects last spring. With nearly double the funds at $25,000, Sustainable Carolina is looking to do the same.

"We're trying to find projects that will showcase the benefits of this program," said Sustainability Coordinator Malte Weiland.

The program was passed through SG last spring in a cooperative effort by Sustainable Carolina and SG officials, including former Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani.

"Along with students who were interested in the program, we worked with some senators in Student Government and the student body president to get it passed," Weiland said. "We looked at examples from other schools in the SEC and the region, and came up with a proposal for Student Government."

Now run by a committee of 14 students and five faculty members, the Student Sustainability Fund is in the process of accepting and reviewing proposals.

"We're looking to give funding to sustainability projects that usually otherwise wouldn't get funded, especially energy efficiency projects," Weiland said. "These types of projects are usually just outside of the budgets of departments that would request them. We're really looking to fund projects that are beneficial from every perspective."

"We really want to fund projects that will better the campus. We want to inspire student leadership and creativity," said SG Secretary of Environmental Affairs and Sustainable Carolina undergraduate intern Chelsea Hoggle. "We're really looking for any way to benefit campus as a whole."

While $25,000 in a seed fund has been afforded to the fund, an optional student fee will be added to student activities fees in the future, from which "every $2 of $5 will go back to research programs," according to Weiland, who is confident that the optional fee will sustain the program.

"We hope and suspect that a lot of students will be interested in contributing to and participating in the program," he said.

For those involved, the outlook for the project is good.

"A lot of good is going to be done through this," said Hoggle, a third-year management, marking and insurance and risk management student on the Student Sustainability Fund committee.

Proposals can be submitted through Feb. 17.