The hand dryers in Miller Hall, the water bottle refilling stations in Arntzen Hall and the paper towel composting in Haggard Hall are all products of the Associated Students Green Energy Fee program.


These environmentally friendly additions to Western’s campus came from student-written proposals submitted during the 2011-2012 school.


This year, there are workshops for Western students, faculty and staff to assist in proposal planning and writing for this year’s AS Green Energy Fee Grant program.


Three Green Energy Fee Project Idea Labs will be held over the first three weeks of spring quarter. The first will be held 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30 in Viking Union 462B.


This is the first year the idea labs will be held, and they are the first step in the application process, said Sarah Philips, AS Green Energy Fee education coordinator. They allow everyone interested in applying for the grant program to talk about their ideas, network and meet people who might want to work on a project. This is a time to further develop ideas so they can be made into a project that will work and could receive funding, Philips said.


The AS Green Energy Program originated in 2004, and was instated to purchase renewable energy credits, Freeman said. The fee was included in 2005, but the grant program was not created until the 2010 academic year. The renewal of the Green Energy Fee Program was a way to fund student, faculty and staff sustainability projects.


The application process has gone under review because there were many kinks that needed to be worked out after the first year of the program, Philips said.


“[Last year’s program participants] got to experience the project in its pilot year, and tell us about all the things that we are now fixing with the application process,” Philips said.


The idea lab will be a mixture of education, lecture and discussion, Philips said.


The lecture section will consist of Philips and Freeman explaining what interested participants need to know about the application process. The labs’ purpose is to make the whole process more user friendly, Philips said.


“A lot of students who come to these things might not even have an idea,” Philips said. “They might just want to be involved, and this is also a place for them to find those ideas.”


Last year, five projects received funding from the grant program, Philips said. Three have been implemented on campus, and two are in the process of being installed. Solar rays on top of the Environmental Studies Building and LED lights in the C parking lots are the projects currently in production.


By participating in the Green Energy Fee Project Idea Labs, students get experience in grant writing, possible internship credit and have something to put on their resume, Philips said. Participans will also gain experience in making decisions about student funds and solving real world environmental problems.


Even if students are not sure if they want to apply, it will give them an opportunity to see what Western is doing in terms of sustainability, Freeman said.


“It’s not something that we as students usually get the opportunity to do,” Philips said. “The Green Fee is a student-driven program – run by students, for students – and it’s really exciting. If I didn’t have this job, I would totally be applying.”