2015 marked a pivotal year for Northern Arizona University’s Green Fund! The Green Fund is a committee governed by both student and faculty members and is made possible by the university’s green fee. The Green Fund holds the primary vision of creating a culture of sustainability on campus, increasing student engagement, and boosting energy and water efficiency on campus. All of which gets NAU closer to achieving its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020 and in creating a more sustainable world for all of us.
In the last year, the fund approved projects that led to many groundbreaking university-wide improvements Including our largest project to date!
2015 accomplishments include:
The Post-Consumer Composting project was funded for $30,000 and will be used in the Hot Spot dining hall. This state of the art system utilizes the waste from both the back of house food preparation facilities as well as the student plate scraping area. This installation allows NAU Dining Services to dramatically reduce its landfill waste, make significant strides toward NAU’s Carbon Neutrality goals, and showcase collaboration between multiple stakeholders including NAU Campus Dining, Campus Services & Activities, the Green Fund, and the campus community.
A Residence Hall Cookbook was put together by the Health FYS and funded for $573. This cookbook was funded to provide students with access to reasonably priced, healthy food options that they can prepare in their own residence halls. The recipes are affordable for students, can be easily prepared, and promote the use of local, fresh produce. By supporting more local food suppliers, the large carbon footprint created by the transportation of food will be minimized.
International Pavilion solar-tubes were funded for $10,000 and placed on the International Pavilion to reduce the need to turn on lights during the day.
The Alternative Spring Break proposal was for $2,047 to support Project Give’s Alternative Spring Break trips. Volunteers will spend time in the experimental Centennial Forest, the Grand Canyon, and Nogales, AZ building trails, cleaning up the environment, and supporting humanitarian initiatives. Those who participate will have a measurable environmental and justice impact on the area in which they are working for the week, and will return to campus with new skills and knowledge to share with fellow students, NAU, and the Flagstaff community. As part of the expectation on their return, or their “reorientation” they will be encouraged to propose new projects and ways to engage here locally based on their experiences and learning on the trip.
Cline Library is installing ten combination water bottle refill station-water fountains for $6,626
Solar Optimization for $3,336 The south campus solar array’s solar panels were permanently repositioned to a tilt of 5° resulting in an estimated increase in annual kWh by 68,071, or $2,723 in savings a year. This project is estimated to have a short payback period of approximately 1.22 years.
Garter snake Vivarium for $55,105 This project funds the rescue of Northern Arizona’s threatened Garter snake native to Oak Creek canyon. The Vivarium creates a refuge for the Garter snakes and promotes both undergraduate and graduate student’s involvement by providing opportunities to experience fieldwork and hands-on research.
At Its Roots Podcast is a $371 project available to the public on Dropbox that features interviews with environmental groups on campus. These podcasts will work to keep the students informed on the various sustainable initiatives on campus and will encourage their involvement in them.
Inspector Tablets 12 computer tablets, for a total of $7,097, were bought for Facility Services inspectors to decrease the amount of paper used for their jobs. By using tablets in the field they were able to minimize and in some cases eliminate the printing of as many as a dozen different plans a week that are measured at 3’ by 4’ for the 12 different inspectors. That is 144 different site plans each week and almost 600 a month that no longer need to be printed due to digital access to the blueprints. Read the original blog post here.
IT Thin Clients will be installed for $11,508 in place of desktop computers by The Facility Services ITS department and will upgrade servers to reduce electricity consumption. Read the original blog post here.
The NAU Sustainable Citizen Program is a program for $8,406 in development that sets the goal of involving students from all backgrounds and disciplines in sustainability for the length of their time at NAU. Students who choose to participate will be joining a new community and engaging in topics of climate change and sustainability to see how they and their work are part of the bigger picture. The program will connect students, introduce them to NAU’s diverse array of sustainability classes, lectures, talks, and service events, and ask them to set goals and consider how their own behavior can make a difference. Students who complete the program will receive recognition at graduation, be able to understand complex sustainability issues as they relate to personal and professional life, and be prepared to make the world a better place.
The San Francisco and Native American Cultural Center Solar Project is the Green Fund’s largest project yet! For an investment of $100,000 a year for 10 years the Green Fund was able to make possible the installation of solar panels on both the San Francisco parking garage and the Native American Cultural Center. The system will be over 700kwhs – almost four times bigger than our existing solar south field.
In the last year the fund has gone to great lengths to improve energy efficiency on campus and in exploring new ways to engage students in the culture of sustainability at NAU. All of the projects accepted in the last year have worked to reduce the environmental impact of NAU and in engaging students and faculty in what sustainability means for the future of Northern Arizona University.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Green Fund in 2016. With the San Francisco and Native American Cultural Center Solar Project effectively taking half of our budget for the next 10 years, the fund will have much less funding for the proposals 2016. Luckily a petition headed by the Green Jacks and Green Fund is well underway to raise the Green Fee to $25. The Green Fund views this as a necessary next step in ensuring that sustainability remains a high priority at NAU and in reaching our goals of climate neutrality.
Submit a project proposal and/or apply to be on next year’s committee by visiting NAU.EDU/GREENFUND.