Members of the Yale community who were looking to the University to provide the green to make the campus a little “greener” and more environmentally sustainable are in luck. The provost’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Management (ACEM) announced Friday that it was seeking project proposals to be funded by the Yale Green Fund.
This is the third year that the Green Fund, which was established in the summer of 2002 by the provost’s office, will be disbursing funds to support environmental projects from students, faculty and staff. This year the ACEM — which recommends projects to the provost’s office for funding — will be looking for projects that deal with environmental awareness and communication, construction projects, University land, procurement, utilities, and waste management. The proposals, which are due Oct. 11, are supposed to range from $2,500 to $50,000 and take between six and 12 months to be completed.
“The million dollars was an amount made available over a three-year time period, and we aren’t sure how much will be available this year, but on the order of $300,000,” Environment School Professor and ACEM chair Thomas Graedel said. “We won’t make a final decision on that until we see the final proposals and see the ones which are particularly attractive.”
Last year the provost’s office approved the allocation of just under $190,000 of Green Fund money. Since the fund was supposed to provide for three years worth of projects, Graedel was unsure if the ACEM would need to ask the provost’s office for more money in order to continue the program next year.
“Depending on the proposals that we get this year and the amount that would be required to do the ones that seem attractive, we may or may not have funding to carry us for a fourth year without any replenishment,” Graedel said. “If we do need replenishment for the coming year, our intention would be to ask the provost and the president for a supplement to the Green Fund.”
The ACEM, which was created in the fall of 2001 by the provost’s office to advise the University on environmental issues, is made up of four students and a combination of faculty and staff members. Last year’s projects ranged from purchasing hybrid cars to researching greenhouse gas mitigation strategies and improving student involvement in recycling.
“It was last year that things really moved out smartly with the acceptance of 12 proposals and one that I would point to in particular is the STEP program in the residential colleges,” Graedel said. “But we’ve also supported the organic gardens effort here and some things that aren’t quite as visible but involve inventorying the University’s greenhouse gasses and some other things that provide us with an operational base of information.”
Since many of the proposals that were approved for funding in February of 2004 are still in progress, Graedel said it was hard to determine how successful each had been. Last year’s recipients said Green Fund money has been very helpful, and in some cases essential.
“It’s made our whole program possible. The funding that was given has given us a good base and from that we’re launching a number of projects,” Maren Haus FES ’06, the director of the STEP program said. “We’re looking into more funding that would be more specific to fund events and projects that we realized we would need more funding for.”