Students Fund Green Projects on Vermont Campus

Students at Green Mountain College at the end of fall semester voted to fund fifteen student proposals that will improve environmental sustainability on the campus for years to come. Each initiative is funded by the Student Campus Greening Fund, financed through a $30 allocation from each student’s annual activity fee. Proposals are evaluated by a student committee and awards are based on a student vote.

This year, a record 15 projects were funded at a total cost of $49,654
set aside, the college said. Student Campus Greening Fund Projects include a campus-wide
compost collecting program, building a permanent bicycle shelter for
the campus free bike program, constructing a mobile solar-powered
workshop, and repair of a campus wind turbine.

"There is a strong tradition here of students putting into action sustainability practices they learn about in the classroom," said Amber Garrard, Green Mountain College’s sustainability coordinator. "Students are very enthusiastic about having part of their activity fee go towards making environmental improvements in their ‘back yard.’"

Green Mountain student Amanda Elder wrote a successful $10,000 proposal to install
software in the College’s new biomass heating plant which is due to go
online in April 2010. Elder and her collaborators will be working with
a software company to provide the campus with live energy monitoring
devices which will broadcast in real time over the College’s website.
The project also includes a touch screen display in the Withey Student

"We review the proposals and help the students get feedback and advice from local community partners," said Steve Carpenter, a co-director of the fund and one of six students on the committee. "We also coordinate with the administration, including the facilities department and the land use committee, to be sure the proposals can be put into action. We want to be sure the final product is something that can be maintained by students in the future."

Students John Warfel and Cody Currier put together a $9,610 proposal to build a mobile solar workshop for the College’s REED (Renewable Energy and EcoDesign) program. Four solar panels will be used to power the trailer. The 120-watt panels will provide power for a variety of student construction projects that often take place in remote areas away from standard electrical outlets. The trailer increases mobility while using the sun’s energy instead of electricity largely generated from non-renewable fossil fuels.

Another student, Clifford Dornbusch, thought about ways to reduce the ecological impact of livestock raised on the College’s Cerridwen Farm. He proposed a 2-foot wide, 100-foot long mycelium buffer between a pig fence and the nearby Poultney River. Mycelial mats (planting of mushroom spores) can serve as a biological filter, removing chemicals and microorganisms from the soil and water.

The Green Mountain College Student Campus Greening Fund was one of three programs on North American campuses to receive a 2009 Sustainability Innovator Award from the Sustainable Endowments Institute. The institute publishes an online national report card designed to identify colleges and universities that are leading by example in their commitment to sustainability.

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Comments on “Students Fund Green Projects on Vermont Campus”

  1. fwdthinking

    This is great news for Vermont and Green Mountain College. Green jobs are the wave of the present and future. Collaboration will be key to rebuilding our economy and I am happy to see our college students leading the way toward a much needed paradigm shift. I have been so encouraged lately by how businesses, colleges, and public officials are beginning to take advantage of the growing green trend. Take the site for instance. It has a plethora of case studies and white papers that demonstrate how green businesses can thrive in the 21st century. The site also has a directory of thousands of companies who have embraced eco-friendly practices and are adding green collar jobs as a result. In this time of great environmental and economic turmoil, the green collar economy must emerge as the next great American enterprise. I suggest readers visit to learn more.


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