The Green Fund is a one-time grant that students can apply for to receive funding to carry out projects related to sustainability at Gonzaga University. As an entirely student-led committee, it empowers students to become leaders and organize projects for issues they want to see changed on campus.

Green Fund is a $5 semester opt-out student fee from tuition and has been active since 2014. The most recent funding cycle closed on Feb. 8.  

Past recipients and projects include the outdoor Rethink Waste compost and recycling bins, funding the GU campus garden, restoring Lake Arthur and even a battery to provide electricity for the otherwise solar-powered Office of Sustainability. 

Jim Simon, the director of sustainability at GU, is a nonvoting advisor to the Green Fund.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to learn about the process of applying for funding,” Simon said. 

Typically, there are four funding cycles throughout the year that accept applications on a rolling basis, and get reviewed at the end of the quarter. However, there was only one application period last semester due to COVID-19 and conflicts with Thanksgiving break. 

Grace Redpath, the GSBA sustainability chair, oversees the Green Fund. She serves as an advisor who can work with teams to develop ideas, work on applications and make sure everything is ready to be submitted. 

“Everyone should apply for Green Fund if they want to; if they have any ideas or even if they don’t,” Redpath said. 

Redpath was a recipient of the Green Fund two years ago. She received funding to travel to the National Fair Trade Conference in Chicago with Fair Trade Gonzaga.

“It was awesome that we got to do that and have that experience and connection with other fair trade people across the country,” Redpath said.

Sophomores Emma Gashi and Abby Dodd applied for the recent Green Fund cycle. Their project featured a solar powered outdoor table that would allow students to charge their electronics while studying outside. 

Their project originated from the Student Sustainability Leadership Program, a zero-credit internship, that they participated in last spring. 

Together with their advisor, they created a PowerPoint and submitted a detailed application and budget for their project.

“We wanted to do something that we could engage students on campus with and have it be convenient and community-oriented,” Dodd said. 

The application process includes a written application as well as a presentation. Applicants must have a faculty sponsor and letter, and can work with the Green Fund committee and staff members for support. 

The Green Fund aims to impact the community in a positive manner, which includes reflecting and applying GU’s mission statement. 

There are measurable differences that have come from the Green Fund. One example is from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System rated GU as bronze the first year it applied in 2017. In 2020, GU received a gold rating.

“A lot of that is because we’re creating a culture of sustainability, so it’s easier to see and encourage improvements,” Simon said. 

A culture of sustainability is necessary to make a campus more environmentally friendly. Those who want to apply but don’t have an idea or need help with theirs should contact Grace Redpath at gbsa-sustainability@zagmail.gonzaga.edu

“Anyone can do this. You don’t have to be the president of a club, we were freshmen when we started doing this,” Gashi said. 

Applications opened on Monday for the current funding cycle and can be found on Zagtivities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The current funding cycle ends on March 26, and proposals will be reviewed on March 31.

Sydney Fluker is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @sydeneymfluker.

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