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Ole Miss Students Pick Projects for a Greener Campus

Spring 2014 marks the second project cycle for the Green Fund, money available to facilitate green projects on campus. The UM Green Initiative needs the help of Ole Miss students, faculty, and staff who have ideas for improving campus sustainability.

red-blue-green-omWill Bedwell, chairman of the Students for a Green Campus, was the 2013 Outreach Coordinator for the Green Fund Committee. He believes the program benefits the community in two main ways.

“First it funds projects aimed at lowering our campus’s carbon footprint, and second it aims to educate and involve students, faculty and staff through environmental initiatives,” Bedwell said.
At this time, the fund contains approximately $15,000 and project proposals are being accepted through March 26. Proposals should be submitted to green@olemiss.edu.

Recycling bins can be found around campus thanks to the Office of Sustainability.
Recycling bins can be found around campus thanks to the Office of Sustainability.

The UM Green Fund Committee will choose proposals based on impact, visibility, and feasibility, meaning that the projects must make a significant impact on campus sustainability, contain an education element for the university community, and be relatively practical.
In its first year, the Green Fund facilitated three projects: “hydration stations” in several buildings on campus, a composting system for pre-consumer waste from the residential college, and distribution of reusable water bottles, also known as H2Otty Toddy Bottles.
Groups like Students for a Green Campus and the Office of Sustainability are involved in the work of the Green Fund, but Bedwell noted that there is a common misconception about the fund itself.
“People thing that it’s a student group,” Bedwell said. “It’s actually a campus program run by a committee of faculty, staff, and students who vote on which projects to fund.”
Because of its identity as a campus program, the Greed Fund Committee welcomes proposals from all students and staff of the university. In fact, Bedwell believes that the project is most successful when a diversity of people get involved.
“Different groups working on projects allows more people to learn about sustainability and environmental initiatives no matter their background,” Bedwell said. “Different people are able to come up with vastly different projects to keep the Green Fund growing.”

Another misconception that Ole Miss community members seem to have about the Green Fund is that their proposals have to detail large-scale, campus-wide projects.greencampus

“The committee is glad to fund smaller projects as well that focus on certain parts or aspects of campus by themselves,” Bedwell said.
When choosing proposals, the Green Fund Committee looks for the primary sustainability goal. According to the University’s Red, Blue, & Green website, these could include but are not limited to reducing campus waste or greenhouse gas emissions, making sustainable choices more accessible to those on campus, and education community members about sustainability.
Proposals should be four to 10 pages in length and include elements like goals, timelines, budget, and possibility for student engagement. A list of all requirements and more examples of sustainability goals can be found at www.olemiss.edu/green/greenfundprojects.html.
The 2014 Outreach Coordinator for the UM Green Fund Committee is Joe Bell. Contact him with questions at jmbell1@go.olemiss.edu.
– Grace Sullivan is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached by emailing gmsulli1@go.olemiss.edu.

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