Students work toward better campus sustainability with the Green Fund

Pictured: Crystal Ngo (C’20), founder of The Green Fund. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

By Helena Kilburn
Staff Writer

The Green Fund is a new committee on the Sewanee Campus. Founded in 2018 by Crystal Ngo (C’20), with the guidance and support of Nick Cookson, the Sustainability Program manager. Once the bylaws had been carefully created the team grew to include many such as Hannah-Marie Garcia (C’19), Alexha Sinha (C’19), Lindsey Paige Sikorski (C’20), and Wilder McCoy (C’20). This team then led advertisement and created the rest of the committee.

According to Ngo, the purpose of the Green Fund is “to allocate funds from the Green Fee to support students, faculty, staff, and the community to complete projects regarding sustainability efforts.”

The Green Fee was started in 2005 and entails the University dedicating six dollars from each student’s tuition towards the fund. This money first went towards Renewable Energy Credits (REC) from the Tennessee Valley Authority, as a step towards the University’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

The fund switched to supporting reforestation efforts in Haiti in 2013. The project, “Zanmi Kafe,” involves shade-grown coffee. Ngo is highly involved in this project.

“The fund has then been used to incentivize the farmers to hinder deforestation by nurturing and planting more coffee plants,” Ngo said,“The partnership between the farmers in Haiti and Sewanee continues with students measuring plant growth during the spring break trip and then in the summer, carbon payments are distributed as well as further research conducted.”

As of 2018, with the creation of the Green Fund, funds from the Green Fee are being used to invest in the students, faculty, staff, and the community and their projects. Applications for this funding (up to $1,500) are due the second Friday of every month, and the committee is looking forward to receiving as many applications as possible.

Both the chance to receive this funding and the chance to be a part of the committee (there are currently open positions which can be found at the Green Fund’s Facebook, Instagram, and website https://sewaneegreenfund.wordpress.com/)  are incredible new opportunities for Sewanee Students.

Two projects have already been funded and Ngo said to “be on the lookout for an upcoming installment of a large bike pump outside of McClurg and an informative no-waste student project…Sustainability does not only cater to environment majors. We strive to gain different perspectives in order to showcase the collaboration that can occur to that contributes to the creation of a sustainable project.”

The goal of this committee is to provide connection within the Sewanee community that can lead to the furthering of sustainability projects that will ultimately make Sewanee a greener place.

“This committee being a resource will change the campus by creating an environment that gets energized by creative project thinking. People get the support they need to complete their own projects,” Ngo said.

The enthusiasm will be strong because the evidence of projects revolving around sustainability will be prevalent. People get to voice themselves through what they care about.”

The committee strongly encourages everyone to apply and for those who are interested they should email greenfund@sewanee.edu.


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