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May 20, 2010

New Campus Sustainability Fund will support projects by students, faculty, staff

News and Information

A new pool of nearly $340,000, created through the sustained work of student activists, will fund student, faculty and staff projects that help make the UW more sustainable.

The Campus Sustainability Fund, created as a result of more than 1,000 volunteer hours collecting 5,511 student signatures and soliciting 53 student organization endorsements, is funded through the Services and Activities Fee paid each quarter by students. The UW joins a growing list of colleges and universities that have similar funds, although the UW’s will be one of the largest.

The fee will fund projects that increase campus sustainability, prioritize student leadership and involvement and include outreach and education components. It will be held by UW Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability and governed by a committee of students, faculty and staff. Projects can be proposed by anyone from those three groups.

“The fund is a major student-led investment in a greener, more sustainable campus,” said Justin Hellier, a graduate student in the Evans School and a member of the Campus Sustainability Fund Working Group. He noted that the UW has invested more than $25 million over the past decade in sustainability projects, which have yielded about $75 million on savings. “But the approach has lacked students,” he said, specifically the hands-on work of creating projects, integrating them with academic pursuits, and setting priorities. “This effort has involved an unprecedented degree of student engagement, which will help transform the UW into a more sustainable campus.”

“Students have shown exemplary leadership in creating this fund,” said Sandra Archibald, dean of the Evans School and chair of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee. “We really can’t be successful without student involvement. Students today will be creating a legacy, making long-term contributions to the University’s sustainability.”

“We’re looking forward to the next steps of working with students, helping to create the infrastructure for decision-making,” said Claudia Frere, manager of the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.

“This fund will have an immediate impact on the sustainability of the University,” said Alan Wright, who heads the sustainability working group, “but it is also important to remember that the fund will create students jobs, give students valuable work experience, and foster a more environmentally conscious campus culture.”

More information about the Campus Sustainability Fund is at www.uwcsf.org