Olena Rypich/The AS Review
The Green Energy Fee Committee will be awarding grants this year to students who come up with innovative ideas that promote environmentally sustainable practices on campus.
The project is looking for student-driven proposals based on three goals: the increase of student involvement and education, substantial reduction to the university’s environmental impact and raising awareness while engaging Western students in environmental issues, said Jamin Agosti, AS vice president for student life. Agosti is also chair of the fee committee, which will decide which student proposals to fund.
“We want qualified students to submit well thought-out proposals, and we’re willing to put money into that—make sure we have the best ideas and put money into those ideas,” Agosti said.
The anticipated deadline for submitting proposals will be at the end of fall quarter, but Agosti said the committee has not yet set a specific date.
“Since this program is just starting, the [deadline] is going to change as we see the need—how many students are working on their proposals? How many are submitting their proposals? Still need time to finish them?” Agosti said.
“Since this is the first year, everything is really flexible, and we want to make sure the students have the time they need to make proposals, because it’s a pretty involved process.”
If a student is interested in creating a proposal, the first step is to contact either Agosti or the graduate student assigned to the project and begin on working on steps they need to complete to finish the proposal.
Funds will be disbursed to students with the best ideas toward the end of winter quarter or early spring quarter.
“We do expect to fund more than one proposal. It depends on proposals that are submitted and how much they cost,” Agosti said. “It depends on the type of proposals and whether they’re feasible or not feasible. And that’s the great thing about the program, it’s 100 percent up to the students to create proposals for what they want to see happen on campus.”
Students can apply to serve on the fee committee or to coordinate the proposal work.
“We’re looking for students that have experience with sustainability projects and really have an interest in helping the university reduce our environmental impact,” Agosti said.
Student proposals will be evaluated by a separate list of general requirements and preferences, which are available on the rules of operations for the fee. Students can request these requirements from the graduate assistant or from Agosti.
The fee will bring in projected annual revenue of about $282,000 from students. Depending on the fluctuations in costs of the farm the university contracts with for renewable energy, around $100,000 will be spent on renewable energy credits each year. Around $20,000 will go toward staff and operations, Agosti said.
The remaining funds will be combined with the $300,000 in reserve to spend on proposals over the next two and a half years.
Agosti said he hopes to allocate around $252,000 to student projects this year, but the final decision on specific amounts has yet to be determined.
“When we’re looking at proposals, we want all the projects to have an educational component,” Agosti said. “We would want something that would tell the general campus community [what it is] and that this was paid for by your Green Energy Fee.”
One of the goals of the program is to reduce environmental impact, and a big part of that is educating students.
“The goal of the program is more than just reducing our numbers,” Agosti said. “It’s also educating students so they have knowledge to go out in their communities and reduce their impacts throughout their lives.”