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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Green Fund opens grant program to sponsor sustainable campus projects

Members of Green Fund at a recent event held in the Campion Student Center. PHOTO COURTESY OF GREEN FUND

SJU Green Fund, St. Joe’s club dedicated to increasing sustainability on campus, is accepting applications for their grant program to sponsor sustainable projects to be implemented on campus. 

“We had a big push to resurrect the grant program this year,” said Nick Sanders ’24, secretary of Green Fund. “We’re trying to push sustainability on campus and also to try and grow the club.” 

While Green Fund has previously sponsored sustainable projects, the ability to get a grant from Green Fund has not been formalized. In order to generate more attention, the grant program has been organized differently this year, according to Green Fund’s faculty advisor Clint J. Springer, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, director of the Institute for Environmental Stewardship and director of the Barnes Arboretum. 

“I want to make sure it’s getting the use that it deserves and so that’s why the leadership and I came up with this this year,” Springer said.

The grant program is open to any member of the St. Joe’s community. Students, faculty and staff can apply individually or jointly. 

Inviting groups to submit grants allows the community to have a voice and stake in green initiatives on campus, said Clare Joyce ’25, fundraising chair of Green Fund.

“The Green Fund’s mission gives the opportunity for students and staff members on campus to have a say in what sustainability projects we put the money towards,” Joyce said.

Currently, applicants can request up to $5,000 for their proposed projects. This amount may change based on fundraising for the grant and the number of proposals presented during the application process. The number of applications that will be awarded grants has not yet been confirmed. 

Grants will be chosen based on the decision of a committee composed of Green Fund’s president, vice presidents, a student who is not in Green Fund, members of University Student Senate and Springer. 

“I’m really hoping that we see some creative ideas,” Springer said. “There’s obviously limitations in what we can accomplish in the timeline and with the budget that we have, but that should hopefully generate some creativity and some ingenuity and problem solving for us.”

If their proposal is awarded funds, the applicant will have until May 2023 to develop their project and use their grant. While the applicant will be in charge of their project, Green Fund is there to help, said Julianna Colontonio ’23, president of Green Fund. 

“We’re not going to be the main drivers of it,” Colontonio said. “If they need help, we’ll be there.”

In the past, Green Fund primarily advocated for and funded sustainable projects around campus, including the installation of solar panels on the roof of Hagan Arena in 2021. Since the pandemic began, Green Fund has put on smaller events such as their recent clothing drive and tote bag sale on Sept. 22 and a vegan bake sale with SJBrew on Oct. 19 in Campion Student Center. 

“If we don’t start acting now, we’re just not going to have a planet that’s sustainable to live on by the time it gets to our children, ” Colontonio said.  

Sustainable projects on campus are not just for current students and staff, but are also intended to make campus a better place for future students who may be considering coming to St. Joe’s, said Sanders.

“You have incoming students,” Sanders said. “They want to know, ‘What are we doing to fight climate change?’ And as a Jesuit institution, I feel like we have an obligation to uphold the care and creation of the world.” 

While the goal with the grant program is to encourage the participation of the St. Joe’s community in creating more sustainable campuses, Green Fund also hopes to raise awareness of how important sustainability is everyday and everywhere, said  Miranda Oseguera ’24, co-vice president of Green Fund.   

“By making our campus more sustainable, we’re able to spread awareness about environmental issues that are going on, as well as teach other people how they can live more sustainably,” Oseguera said. 

Everyone is welcome to apply for the grant and Green Fund is excited to see what ideas the community has, Oseguera said. 

“We’re just really excited to hear about what the community of St. Joe’s has to offer idea-wise,” Oseguera said. “We are really encouraging anyone, even if they have an event they want to throw or if they have some kind of infrastructure they want to add on to the campus, or if they just have any idea of how to make our campus more sustainable, we highly encourage it.”

The link to apply for a grant from Green Fund can be found on their social media,  @sjugreenfund. Grant proposals are due the week of Thanksgiving, and applicants will find out if they have been accepted in January 2023. 

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