The Office for Sustainability at the University of Arkansas is accepting applications for its Green Revolving Fund (GRF). The $50,000 fund is an investment by the UA campus to support student-led sustainability projects and to facilitate campus-wide energy conservation.
The GRF provides financing for implementing energy efficiency, sustainability and other cost saving projects.
“The Green Revolving Fund is simply a fund designated for students, staff and faculty to fulfill energy efficiency sustainability projects on campus,” said Theresa Ehrlich, co-chair of the UA Sustainability Council Managed Systems Workgroup.
The campus’s savings from these investments replenish the fund and help aid other projects.
“The savings go back into the fund to be reimbursed into other energy saving projects,” said Ehrlich. “It is a $50,000 fund right now for the next five years, so there’s quite a bit of money to be spent.”
The amount of money invested in each project will vary depending on how many projects are submitted.
“We have money to put their projects into reality. It’s a great thing to do for a thesis, or, if you’re a sustainability minor, you have to do a capstone project, so this is a great thing for that capstone,” said Cameron Baker, ASG director of sustainability.
Several universities around the country have begun their own green revolving funds.
“A lot of other schools have done this, so were just taking after the general trend. Some schools have multi-million dollar green revolving funds,” said Baker.
Project themes may focus on sustainable practices related to a range of topics, from electricity and water conservation to household and food waste and greenhouse gas management. Regardless of the topic, the project eligibility guidelines state that the project must contribute to sustainability on campus.
One exemplary project is in the UA Office for Sustainability, where the staff is changing the CFL light bulbs in the office to LEDs, which are much more cost efficient.
“That will save a certain amount of money in electricity costs each month, and we will put the return of those savings back into the fund,” said Ehrlich.
The Office for Sustainability light bulb project is a pilot for the fund and represents a small-scale example of the type of projects students could propose in the future.
The GRF is accepting applications for sustainable investment projects through Nov. 26.
For more information, please visit http://sustainability.uark.edu/get-involved/green-revolving-fund.php and download the application.
Applications and any supporting materials can be submitted in person to the Office for Sustainability located on campus at 238 Harmon Ave. or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Paige Acklie, Agricultural Communications Experiential Learning Lab Reporter