Weber State University students are bleeding a new color this semester, and it’s green.
The WSU Environmental Club has experienced a surge of new members, inspiring the club to take on new projects like a proposed Green Fund on campus. The proposal consists of adding a few dollars annually to student fees that would go toward green initiatives on campus.
“The vision is to have some cash to back up what we’re talking about to get real results and better results,” said Leroy Christensen, the current president of the club.
The idea behind the Green Fund is nothing new. According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, dozens of universities across the country have instituted similar programs, including a few in Utah. Since 2004, the University of Utah has been adding $2.50 a semester to student fees as part of its Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund. The money is made available to any student who applies with an idea for a sustainable project on campus. Last year, Utah State University students passed the Blue Goes Green Fund, which added $3 to student fees. The money will be used to fund projects geared toward conserving resources.
“As students are deciding where to go to school, sustainability is becoming more and more a part of their decision-making,” Christensen said. “That is what the Green Fund is all about — not just more enrollment but improving (environmental) study areas for Weber State.”
The proposal is unfinished, but the club hopes to officially present the Green Fund to the student senate by the end of this semester. In the meantime, members are doing research and collecting information. Throughout the semester, they will be distributing a survey to gauge student interest and determine a probable dollar amount.
Although the Green Fund is the club’s biggest priority, several other projects are under way this semester. The Light Bulb Exchange is an opportunity for students to bring in old incandescent bulbs and exchange them for more energy-efficient bulbs. The Light Bulb Exchange has been around for a few years, but has had limited exposure and participation. The club hopes to remedy that this year through better publicity and consistency. Starting Sept. 16, every Friday there will be a table in the Shepherd Union Atrium from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. where students can exchange their light bulbs for free. Members said they feel this is a great program and an asset to students.
“If nothing else, the Light Bulb Exchange is reducing people’s energy bills,” commented Wes Wells, a recent Environmental Club member.
Most of the members of the Environmental Club are fairly new, having joined this semester or last. The club encourages anyone and everyone to join, no matter how committed they are to the cause.
“You can spend as much time as you want or as little as you want, but regardless of how much time you spend, you can’t go wrong . . . you end up helping somewhere,” said Valecia Baird, a board member.
To some, the Green Fund might seem a lofty goal, but Dan Bedford, an associate professor in the geography department and the faculty adviser for the club, said he is confident it can be accomplished.
“We’ve got an amazing group of students involved in the Environmental Club right now,” Bedford said. “I would be surprised if there was anything they couldn’t do.”
For more information about joining the Environmental Club or participating in its projects, students can e-mail Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.