This is regarding the Oct. 7 article titled “The Green Fund Withers.” As members and past chairs of the Green Fund committee, we felt we needed to respond to the negatively toned article. With the exception of UTSA and UTEP, all of the other Texas universities that have the Green Fund also have an office of sustainability. This includes paid staffing to assist in promoting their green fee process as well as soliciting proposals, which would include designing a web site. Soliciting for proposals has been a major concern and action item for every Green Fund committee since its inception. The Green Fund committee is a volunteer committee made up of students, staff and faculty who are giving of their own time to assist in increasing the sustainability of the UTSA campus and community.
Since the Green Fund started accepting proposals and funding projects, the Green Fund has contributed greatly to the sustainability of UTSA in many ways. The proposed sustainability director is another step in UTSA’s drive to emulate what other “Tier One” universities are doing to better their campus environment. This position would not take the place of the Green Fund committee (it would be a violation of its own charter). The position would instead be the force to organize sustainable progress on campus.
The Green Fund is not “withering” away. The committee’s process had a slow start in learning how to manage the process of implementing change at UTSA but has been growing stronger every year. By its charter, new committee members must be found every year, and there has not been a shortage of dedicated and driven individuals to come to the helm and collaborate and learn from established members what works and what does not.
So instead of “withering,” the Green Fund is finishing strong. Its influence can be seen throughout the campus community. Projects that reduced waste and energy, like double-sided printing, recycling projects and LED lighting to projects that beautify our campus by planting 100s of trees around the 1604 entrance oval to diverting air conditioning condenser water (not gray water) so that the Sombrilla fountain can run again, even during a drought. So maybe in the future Paisano writers could highlight the benefits of the Green Fund and act to influence positive change, perhaps by informing the UTSA community how they can submit their green fund proposal by going to utsa.edu/sga/greenfund.
Chad Sundol, Green Fund Chair Fall 2013
Michelle Garza, Green Fund Chair Spring 2014
Merced Carbajal, Green Fund Committee Member 2011-12
Madison Rosene, Alumni 2012, Green Fund Vice Chair 2014