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Student Green Fee Management and Project Implementation Panel Members Mieko A. Ozeki, University of Vermont Suhail Barot, University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign Nicole Leung, University of California- Berkeley Cindy Shea, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Jedd Wilcox, University of Vermont Moderator Amber Garrard, Green Mountain College

AASHE 2010

What are student green fees? • Revenue collected from comprehensive student fees to fund major, campus wide, sustainability and energy initiatives (CampusIn Power, 2008) • An alternative funding source, ranging $1 to $58 per student per academic term (quarter, semester, trimester, or year). (Bintliff, 2009) • Students propose and run campaigns to create a green fee on campus. • Senior administrators or Board of Trustees approve the green fee.

Student Green Funds in North America

Created in Google Maps

• More than 70+ colleges and universities listed with student green fees to date. • The number of institutions starting student green funds is steadily increasing.

Sample of Projects Funded •

• • • • • •

• • •

Sustainability director/ coordinator positions Installation of wind turbines and/or solar panels on campus Energy efficiency retrofits On-campus garden Energy competitions Academic courses Student internships Creation of campus energy “dashboard” energy management system Lecture series Weatherization workshops. Renewable energy credits

• •

Granting awards to sustainability champions Installation of composting facilities Feasibility study for for sustainability improvements Funding campus sustainability and environmental resource centers.

List from Bintliff, 2009.

For this session… • We will not discuss “how-to” create a student green fee. • We will discuss: What structures and processes were utilized to: – implement and manage projects, – engage and encourage students, faculty, and staff to participate in green fund projects, – connect projects to academics, – tracking project performance and progress, for the long term? • The take away: Ideas for managing student green fee projects.

Resources • Bintliff, Jacob (2009). Student Green Funds: 1997-2009. • Campus InPower (2008). Raise the Funds: Campus Action Toolkit. Available on AASHE’s Resource page.

Research Plug I am conducting research on best practices implementing and managing student green fund projects in the United States for Harvard Extension School. Research involves: • Survey Monkey questionnaire  to develop a comprehensive list and map of student green funds • In-depth interviews to gain analyze best practices from green fund coordinators If you have a student green fee, please send your contact information to

From Eco-Clutter to Integrated Systems: Student Green Fees as a Learning Tool

UVM Office of Sustainability Mieko A. Ozeki, Sustainability Projects Coordinator James Wilcox, CEF Education & Outreach Fellow

UVM Profile Public, land grant institution founded in 1791 and located in Burlington, VT. Full-time Students: 10,371 Undergrad; 1,516 Graduate; and 460 Medical students Faculty: 1,200 FTE Staff: 2,300 FTE Student body highly engaged in social and environmental justice issues. Number of formal student clubs/coalitions: • 6 environmental/food related • 2 social justice + SGA Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Environmental Ethics

Pre-CEF: Renewable Energy Pilot Projects 5-kW Solar array (2001)

• • • • • •

10-kW Wind Turbine (2006)

Intended to raise awareness about the potential for renewable energy on campus. We were opportunistic and not strategic about the solar and wind installations. No clear long-term commitment to integration of projects with academics. Steep learning curve implementing these projects. Lacked coordination No thought about or funding for decommissioning.

Pre-CEF: Context • Students have little experience implementing installation projects. • Faculty have little experience implementing installation projects. • Staff do not have the capacity to integrate installation projects with academics

What is UVM’s Clean Energy Fund? • Sustained by a self-imposed student fee of $10 per student per semester, the Clean Energy Fund (CEF) is designed to advance renewable energy research, education, and infrastructure on campus • Idea for CEF began in 2005, endorsed by SGA in 2007, and approved by the Board of Trustees in 2008 in response to student petitions to fund renewable energy installations and energy education • Estimated annual accumulation to the fund: $225,000

CEF Organizational & Project Selection Process 2009-2010

Fund Oversight and Final Project Approval

Project Selection

Project Coordination

VP Finance & Administration

CEF Committee

CEF Administration Team

VPFA Liaison

CEF Manager

CEF First Round 2009-2010 Fall 2008: Fee collection began December 2008: First committee meeting February 2009: CEF committee bylaws passed April 2009: Committee approves general guidelines for projects October 2009: First RFP is released November 2009: 19 proposals received December 2009: Preliminary approval of 8 proposed projects January 2010: Office of Sustainability repackages project proposals based on interviews with project applicants. • February 2010: Committee made final recommendation to VPFA • March 2010: VPFA approves all 2009-2010 projects

• • • • • • • •

The Writing on the Wall: the need for an implementation team

• Leveraging CEF for potential match funds • Those submitting proposals lacked the expertise on renewable energy • Identifying the need for dedicated staff to navigate UVM’s complex institutional systems

CEF Organizational & Project Selection Process 2010-2011

Fund Oversight and Final Project Approval

Project Selection

Project Implementation Project Accountability & Outreach

VP Finance & Administration

CEF Administration Team

CEF Committee

VPFA Liaison

CEF Manager

CEF Education & Outreach Fellow

Implementation Team

Project Managers

Projects Liaison

2009-2010 CEF Projects Installations

• Aiken Solar Trackers at Forest Service Site • Photovoltaic System on Equine Center Roof • Solar Hot Water on Slade Hall Shed


• Certified Energy Auditor and Renewable Energy Retrofit Training Course • Virtual Solar Carport Course

Research & Studies

• Biomass Feasibility Study for Trinity Campus • Solar Power and Smart Grid Research

CEF Program & Outreach

• CEF Implementation, Education & Outreach Program • University-wide Energy Display System

So, What Now? Once the projects were approved, the real work began…. • Distributing the funds was not easy. • Key staff and business managers were caught off-guard when informed about projects. • Recruiting and getting CEF Fellow to start up education and outreach efforts took a few months. • Staff were learning and cobbling new processes while implementing projects.

2010-2011 CEF Program Planning Request for Proposals  Request for Ideas

• Activates the collective intelligence of the UVM community to gather the best ideas • Increases student engagement with and sense of ownership of the CEF •Allows for consistent project management of CEF projects in subsequent years (no “ownership” of project proposals)

Education & Outreach • Make connections between curriculum and renewable installations • Move toward campus-wide energy monitoring • Identify and apply for matching funds • Provide status reports to Clean Energy Fund Committee • Public outreach about the Clean Energy Fund

Next step: create online portfolio of CEF projects

Lessons Learned • No projects are headache free. • Know who should be involved & make all roles clear. • Document, document, document – Processes – Key people involved – Project strategy and progress

• Don’t skimp on your management plan!

Contact information UVM Office of Sustainability Mieko A. Ozeki, CEF Manager and Projects Coordinator Jedd Wilcox, CEF Education & Outreach Fellow Website:

Student Green Fee Management and Project Implementation  

prepared and presented at the AASHE 2010 Conference in Denver, CO.

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