Each semester, over $160,000 is allocated from students’ tuition and placed into the Green Fund, an organization dedicated to making UTSA a cleaner and more energy and resource-efficient campus. However, very few people are aware of the funds and what they pay for.
Five dollars from each student’s tuition is automatically placed into the fund each semester to be used on projects such as double-sided printing and the hydration stations on campus. Any student, staff or faculty member may propose a project and, depending on its relativity to the Green Fund mission, it may be taken into consideration.
The goal of the Green Fund is to create a more eco-friendly, energy-efficient and resource-savvy campus.
In the past, the Green Fund has been able to push for the implementation of projects that may not have been undertaken otherwise.
Merced Carbajal, a Green Fund Committee member, commented that “Double-sided printing at first was determined not to be feasible, but through the Green Fund, we requested the department enact a departmental feasibility study. It showed to actually be possible.”
There are currently multiple ongoing projects, although the advertisements bringing awareness to them are limited because the Fund would rather focus on channeling that money into the projects themselves.
Carbajal has noted that two popular green initiatives— restoring water to the Sombrilla fountain and building a campus garden— are being considered.
“The fountain proposal has been submitted, but we are researching its feasibility before we vote or approve it. The garden has received approval and has a spot assigned, but we are currently working on the designs and implementation of it.”
In the past, The Green Fund has funded events such as a solar stage for a concert and made a more eco-friendly version of a flier. They are also involved in funding seminars and workshops during Earth Week each year at UTSA.
In an effort to get the word out, the Green Fund has hosted contests, such as a proposal essay award where people could submit their best green ideas with the best winning a small stipend.
Other projects that have been proposed include using the water condensation from buildings’ air conditioners to hydrate the fountain, which has been out of use due to water shortages.
The amount of water left to run off from AC units could also be channeled into an irrigation system that would water the lawns on campus.
The Green Fund is a national organization on many campuses across the country. It was introduced to UTSA after representatives of the National Green Fund came and talked to student organizations to spread awareness. The final decision to implement the fund was made by UTSA students who voted on its establishment three years ago.
A committee of students and faculty who are involved in various student organizations and are of varying majors runs the Green Fund at UTSA. Their dedication lies in making UTSA a greener campus. It is a collective effort.
Some projects fall short of expectation. The double-sided printing has caused trouble for some students at printer stations by unexpectedly reverting back to single-sided and wasting paper. In this instance, students are encouraged to contact the building administrator or the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to fix it.
When the Paisano contacted OIT, they were not aware that the problem existed but continued to encourage student feedback.
If problems in projects persist or if the student body feels that the Green Fund is not putting their money to good use the vote to dissolve or keep the Fund comes up every five years.