Green fee funds pilot programs - The Western Front: News

Green fee funds pilot programs

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 8:05 am

Western Washington University’s Green Energy Fee Committee announced funding for eight campus projects using the Green Energy Fee Grant Program April 22.

The committee selected the eight proposals based on how well they fit the mission of the Green Energy Fee, said Katie Savinski, chair of the committee and AS vice president for student life.

“Our general principles are to increase student involvement and education, reduce the university’s environmental impact and create an aware and engaged campus community,” Savinski said.

Funding for the grant program comes from the Green Energy Fee, which is billed to student accounts. Each quarter, students are charged 70 cents per credit, and no more than $7 per quarter, Savinski said in an email. Each year, $300,000 is set aside for the grant program. 

The largest project to receive funding was designed by a team of four students and two faculty members. The team received $184,735 to install interactive energy consumption displays called “dashboards” to show students campus consumption in real time, according to a press release. 

The “dashboards” will be installed in the Viking Union, Buchanan Towers and the Fairhaven Complex hopefully by fall 2014, said Regan Clover, program coordinator for the Green Energy Fee Grant Program. 

Carolyn Bowie, president of the Students for Sustainable Water club, and her partner, Gerald Kitsis, were awarded $23,457 for their project to install a water bottle refilling station and sustainable information kiosk in Wilson Library near Zoe’s Bagels. The existing three are located in Arntzen Hall, Old Main and the Wade King Student Recreation Center. 

One of the smaller grant proposals includes Project MUG, a program hoping to reduce paper coffee cup usage on campus. Senior Kali Levy and her team members received their grant to introduce 16-ounce mug students can check out at the Viking Union Café and return when they’re finished, she said.

Project MUG will test their pilot program this spring with 40 student participants, and again in the fall, Levy said. Participants will agree to pay $15 if the mug is lost or damaged, Levy said.

“It will be an honor system, which we hope people will be good about,” Levy said. 

Inspiration for this project came from a 2010-11 waste study, which showed that 13.05 percent of campus waste is paper coffee cups, Levy said. 

“These cups are compostable but a huge amount are ending up in landfills,” Levy said. “There is a need here for something to be done.” 

In a similar attempt to cut down on paper cup waste, Clarissa Mansfield and Rob Lopresti were granted money to hold a "design your own mug" contest coinciding with the Built to Last Picture Show, a sustainability film festival, Mansfield said. 

Mansfield likes how all the programs seem to link together, she said.

“One thing about the Green Energy Grant program is that one thing will lead to another,” Mansfield said.

Other smaller projects include replacing the lighting in the Old Main Theatre with more energy-efficient fixtures, and student groups will receive $1,935 to purchase native plants and new garden tools for use in the Outback Gardens and the Sehome Hill Arboretum, according to the press release.

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