The Student Green Initiatives Fund at BGSU
by Max Frost - Sustainability Assistant
The Student Green Initiatives Fund, which was created by students in 2009, is a pool of money that is available to fund student-led projects that further environmental sustainability on campus at BGSU. The Green Fund is made possible by an optional $5.00 per semester fee. For a project to receive funding, applicants must submit a proposal that conveys how their project will make BGSU a more environmentally sustainable institution. Each project must support at least one of the three categories from the University’s Sustainability Strategy: 1.) Emissions Reduction, 2.) Resource Conservation & Waste Reduction, and 3.) Education, Awareness, & Outreach.
Who Decides What Gets Funded?
Green Fund proposals are reviewed by the Student Green Initiatives Fund Committee, which consists of three undergraduate students, one graduate student, one staff member, and one faculty member. The committee makes selections based on the project proposal’s feasibility, its positive environmental impact on campus, as well as its affordability.
Successful Proposals of the Past.
The 2018-2019 academic year contained several successful Green Fund proposals. That year the committee approved nearly $60,000 for green projects, including the Maurer Center electric vehicle charging stations ($29,693), 15,000 reusable bags following a university-wide plastic bag ban ($18,000), a water bottle refill station in the College of Musical Arts ($1,000), and more! These projects have certainly benefitted the entire BGSU community by making environmental sustainability more affordable and accessible!
Upcoming Green Projects.
More recently, the Green Fund Committee approved some amazing proposals that will further sustainability at BGSU. For instance, the committee approved nearly $48,990 in funding toward an electric Zamboni that will serve the Slater Family Ice Arena. Be on the look out for this machine at the next hockey game as it resurfaces the ice rink with zero emissions!
To date, the committee has invested more than $504,000 into outdoor LED Lighting Conversion projects. The goal of these projects is to save energy and costs as well as to improve lighting efficiency on campus. The projects consist of four phases and phases one and two are already complete. LED Lighting Conversions projects have saved BGSU 700MWh of annual electricity, which is equivalent to more than 492 metric tons of CO2 emissions. To experience the lighting changes, take a walk down Ridge St. in the evening and notice the amazing brightness of the lights! Projects like these help BGSU to take one step closer toward becoming carbon neutral by the year 2040!
If you have an idea for a green proposal that would further sustainability at BGSU, we encourage you to apply online at bgsu.edu/campus-sustainability/student-green-initiatives-fund. All proposals must be submitted within at least three weeks before the date of funding is due. The Green Fund Committee convenes biweekly and a member will contact applicants within 2-3 weeks of submission. There is no limit to the amount of funding a green proposal may request, but applicants should be aware that the Green Fund Committee receives multiple applications and funds as many reasonable requests as possible. We hope to see your proposal soon!
The Quest for Carbon Neutrality at BGSU
by Dr. Nick Hennessey - Sustainability Manager
Reaching carbon neutrality (the point where we are effectively accounting for 100% of the carbon emissions into the atmosphere that we are creating) is not an easy task for an institution the size of BGSU. However, we have committed to reaching neutrality by 2040 (which is actually an aggressive goal) through our membership in the Climate Leadership Network, along with hundreds of other universities across the U.S. It’s a somewhat overwhelming task when you consider the various activities that occur daily and contribute to our emissions: Electricity (lights, massive amounts of IT equipment, cooling, appliances and much more) is the largest percentage of our “carbon footprint”, along with natural gas used to create steam for heating in the winter. Additionally, there is commuter/staff/faculty travel to and from campus, our vehicle fleet, huge volumes of trash generated daily, paper usage, and much more.
How do you even begin this process, you ask? BGSU collaboratively created a “Climate Action Plan” back in 2015, and which we update regularly, which still serves as our guide to moving forward and in fact, we have made measurable progress in reducing our carbon footprint through the actions set forth in that plan. But much more work is needed.
Who is leading the charge on this Plan? In addition to the Office of Campus Sustainability in Campus Operations, the newly formed “President’s Council on Sustainability, appointed late fall semester, 2019 by President Rogers is charged with implementing the Climate Action Plan, and making recommendations for next steps to the Office of the President. While the “stay at home” months brought on by Covid-19 slowed the initial efforts of this Council, composed of staff, faculty and students, they are attempting to make up for lost time with meetings this semester.
Just some of the areas that smaller subcommittees are focusing on include energy (conservation and potential generation of renewable energy); transportation (looking at potential for electric/low emissions vehicles, expanding alternative transportation, EV station use); Waste (how to decrease what we generate and increase what we reuse and recycle); and Academics & Student Life (how to incorporate sustainability more seamlessly into the curriculum and daily events). For more on the BGSU Climate Action Plan, see: https://www.bgsu.edu/campus-sustainability/ClimateActionPlan.html
Where Are They Now!?
by Max Frost - Sustainability Assistant
Over the years, many interns have walked in and out of The Office of Campus Sustainability doors. These interns have made major contributions and impacts that have marked successful milestones for the Office of Campus Sustainability. We wanted to know what these interns have been up to and how the work they did as an intern has impacted their lives. Therefore, we started the new newsletter series “Where Are They Now?”.
This month, the Office of Campus Sustainability reconnected with former intern Jacob Clolinger.
Jacob graduated from BGSU in 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. After his time at BGSU, he went on to earn an M.S. in Environmental Policy & Management from the University of Denver in 2018. Currently, Jacob is a Health & Safety Senior Specialist at Vail Resorts Management Company. In his current role at Vail Resorts, Jacob supports health & safety, as well as pandemic response, for hospitality properties in the US, Canada, and Australia.
In his personal life, Jacob and his wife Amanda, a fellow BGSU graduate, have lived in Denver, CO since 2015, where they love to hike with their dog, Geordie. They also enjoy traveling and have visited many places, including Vietnam, Denmark, Nicaragua, Portugal, and Spain!
Jacob Clolinger │ Campus Sustainability Intern 2012-2013
Jacob worked as a Sustainability Intern for Dr. Hennessy, the Sustainability Manager, from 2012 – 2013. His main responsibilities included managing social media & marketing for the office as well as supporting Campus Sustainability programs, such as RecycleMania, WYMO, and Green Tailgating to name a few. Since Jacob was an intern during the years leading up to BGSU signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Jacob also spent much of his time conducting research for BGSU’s Climate Action Plan. This was no simple task and he played a big part in laying the foundation for how the University planned to achieve its climate goals!
Looking back at his time with Campus Sustainability, Jacob says his favorite experience with the office was the When-You-Move-Out program. Jacob recalls, “I really enjoyed supporting WYMO. I think it was one of the more complex projects I supported given that the entire program happens so quickly at move-out. While it seems like a whirlwind in the moment, it also gives a very visual representation of the impact that the program has in terms of keeping all kinds of things out of the landfill and redirecting them to people or organizations that could use them.” Some of his most interesting memories, however, come from his interactions with tailgaters at Green Tailgating events, Jacob says, “Going around the lots and collecting recyclables while interacting with everyone pre-gaming was always entertaining.”
Overall, Jacob says his time with Campus Sustainability gave him real-life experience in the sustainability field, which helped him find his first position after graduation as Administrator of the Franciscan Earth Literacy Center in Tiffin, Ohio. Jacob remarks, “I think the only thing I wish I would have taken advantage of more was networking with other sustainability departments from local colleges.”
Jacob finished the interview with one last piece of advice for those interested in pursuing green career paths, recommending that students take advantage of as many internships or volunteer opportunities in the environmental and sustainability field as possible. He also says to be open-minded about working in positions that are not what you would typically expect since they still provide opportunities to grow and reach your goals.
Do you have any special memories of Campus Sustainability interns? Let us know at Greenbg@bgsu.edu!
Coming Soon from Campus Sustainability!
- Sustainability Week (October 19-23)
- Campus ReStore
- "Get Out & Bike" Short-Term Fall Rentals
Like staying up to date on all of BGSU's sustainability updates? Be sure to subscribe to this newsletter to get it sent to your email inbox each month!
Updated: 10/12/2020 01:27PM