UW Oshkosh Green Fund promotes sustainable student projects

Kaitlyn Scoville, Copy Desk Chief

Students have until March 20 to submit a proposal to the Green Fund, a student-run organization that promotes sustainable changes to the campus by those who want to help keep UW Oshkosh a green campus.

Each year, the Green Fund has $60,000 to spend on student-driven projects to create a more sustainable campus. Not every project has to use all of it though; it leaves room for several proposals to be approved each semester.

According to an email sent by Campus Sustainability Officer Bradley Spanbauer, “[p]rojects can be anything related to sustainability from social justice and climate change to landscaping and food movements.

Marissa Chamberlin
In the fall 2019 semester, the Green Fund received 10 applications and accepted seven of them.

“Proposals can be written by any student or student groups and will be reviewed for approval and funding each semester,” the email said. “All it takes to submit a proposal is to fill out an application and email [it] to .”

Previous Green Fund projects include bike repair stations, the OZZI reusable salad container station in Reeve Memorial Union and wooden duck boxes along the Fox River.

Student Sustainability Director Lisa Marone explains why she wanted to be part of the Green Fund.

“I go to school here, I’ve lived in Oshkosh my whole life and I care about the environment,” Marone said. “So what can I do in my personal life to leave this place better?”

Marone’s job as student sustainability director is to meet with students who have a sustainable project idea and help them through the process of submitting a Green Fund application, which, according to her, is incredibly easy.

“I’ll show them the application and highlight what’s important,” Marone said. “We go down the application and I ask for some potential outcomes — what’s the ending, the final product — and we just keep going. Finally, once they have their draft complete, they turn it in to us. And maybe a month or so later, [you’ll] have the presentation.”

Marone also said that the Green Fund’s focus was not just mainstream wind and solar power, but other projects that still provide a sustainable change at UWO.

“Everyone submitting a proposal will have a chance to present it to the Green Fund committee,” Spanbauer’s email stated. “Once all of the proposals have been presented and reviewed, the Green Fund committee will vote on which projects to fund and how much to allocate to each project.”

Julia Steffes, senior environmental studies major and chair of the Green Fund committee, talks about the excitement behind implementing projects through the Green Fund.

“You get to see things actually happen on campus versus in a classroom you’re just writing theoretical stuff,” Steffes said. “You get to see it implemented.”

In the fall 2019 semester, the Green Fund received 10 applications and accepted seven of them. Steffes said that proposals may be turned down because of budget restraints and incomplete detailing.

“Most of the proposals that come our way are really well thought out and great for the campus, so we usually fund them,” Steffes said. “There’s only a few that we don’t fund and we’ll sometimes table for the next semester, which basically means we need more information before we put money into it.”

Marone said students are also able to complete an unfinished project.

“If you see a proposal on the website that wasn’t completed or funded and you want to go for it, you can,” she said.

One thing to note, though, Marone said, is that once an application is put through the Green Fund committee, only one additional budget request is allowed.

Steffes, looking at the future of the Green Fund, said that she hopes students will continue to put forward sustainable projects for UWO.

“Our current members have done a really good job of making sure it doesn’t fall by the wayside,” Steffes said. “I hope that the Green Fund can maintain its membership and its funding, because the student input, especially with all of the things going on with government and administration, the environment and sustainability gets put aside.”

“We need younger classes to come up and take hold of the Green Fund,” Marone said. “I want to get more support from faculty; I want the Green Fund to be known. If you’re a student at UW Oshkosh, you should know what the Green Fund is.”