A special fund at the University of Vermont encourages students to propose and create real change on campus and within the community when it comes to sustainability and clean energy.
The Sustainable Campus Fund is supported by a $10 fee paid by each student and is then offered back to students through funding for projects as long as they meet certain criteria. And although projects have been sporadic, officials say it’s gaining traction.
“This fund increases agency for the students,” said Elizabeth Palchak, the fund’s coordinator.
She says when it comes to sustainability and climate change, UVM is about taking action.
“If it meets the criteria of the fund and supports the vision of the Sustainable Campus Fund, I think the group is willing to see a well-thought-out, well-developed proposal on just about anything,” Palchak said.
The fund has been around for years under different names and leadership. It was most recently known as the Clean Energy Fund before a name switch in 2020 intended to broaden the program’s scope.
“Through social media and social networking we are getting more of the word out, we are trying to reach a cross-section of the university,” said Claire Burlingham, the chair of the Investing Advisory Council, who acts as the liaison between the fund and the administration.
She says the board decides which projects to fund, looks for innovation, environmental impact and infrastructure.