Yalies hoping to help the environment may soon find themselves with some extra green.
The Provost’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Management, established in the fall of 2001, is seeking proposals for projects to improve Yale’s environmental record. The committee will fund accepted proposals with part of the $1 million Yale Green Fund that former provost Alison Richard established in October.
The University formed ACEM in fall 2001 amid criticism of Yale’s environmental record. The committee is now charged with implementing the University’s new environmental principles.
“The basic idea is that we are looking for any persons — with ideas on environmental management to come forth,” said Cyril May, recycling coordinator for the Office of Facilities and a member of ACEM. “We realized that we haven’t seen everything.”
In April 2002, ACEM — which includes faculty and staff members and students –proposed 14 projects for environmental management on campus. May said the ACEM proposals could serve as models for projects by community members.
Beyond requesting community proposals, the committee hopes that Yale students, faculty and staff will be willing to administer their projects.
“The idea of the proposal is not that somebody will propose that the committee will do something or that the University will do something,” said Eric Weese ’04, one of the two undergraduate members of the committee.
Because Richard approved the committee’s budget before stepping down in January, the committee is ready to get started with more substantial efforts. ACEM plans to announce the awarding of grants by the end of March. Members of the ACEM subcommittees — Utilities, Land, Purchasing, Construction, Recycling and Communications — will supervise the projects.
The individual grants for projects will be for a minimum of $2,500. Anyone seeking more than $50,000 will be required to meet with the ACEM first.
“Hopefully there’ll be enough interest to generate a lot of applications so we can get something done,” Weese said.
Projects are expected to last six to 12 months.
May said the Green Fund will be used largely as seed and leverage money for larger projects, while ACEM will ask the University, specific departments and other sponsors to provide some funding.
“We already are scratching our heads and going, ‘Uh oh, we’re going to run out of money,'” May said.
May said one such project, proposed by the Waste Management Committee, would buy nicer recycling bins for Old Campus or Cross Campus. But if the bins were approved by the Yale community, ACEM would ask the University to fund an additional purchase.
May said the committee hopes the community-wide efforts of ACEM will “help Yalies see themselves as green as well as blue.”
He said many people at Yale are environmentally conscious, but not always involved in action.
“But the willingness to act when you’re writing papers or pushing papers — is more difficult,” May said.
ACEM Chairman Thomas Graedel, a professor in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, said the committee is especially emphasizing environmental education and pointing out ways people can engage in environmentally-friendly practices.
“I certainly hope that five years from now, Yale’s environmental record will be better and that — there is an awareness that this is an important thing to be thinking about,” Graedel said.
Graedel said the committee will issue a report by the end of the month on the University’s environmental performance over the past five years.
The committee is also currently at work on a Web site that would be a central source of information for environmental practices at Yale. The site will also contain all Green Fund documentation.