Green Fund addresses sustainability needs

Kaitlyn Scoville, Copy Desk Chief

Students have until Nov. 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.

UWO’s Green Fund has approximately $40,000 to spend on student-driven projects to create a more sustainable campus.

The Green Fund has approximately $40,000 to spend on student-driven projects to create a more sustainable campus. Not every project has to use all of it; this leaves room for several proposals to be approved each semester.

According to Campus Sustainability Officer Bradley Spanbauer, “projects can be anything related to sustainability from social justice and climate change to landscaping and food movements.

“Proposals can be written by any student or student groups and will be reviewed for approval and funding each semester,” Spanbauer 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.”

Because of the coronavirus, meetings are now held virtually via Microsoft Teams, and project presentations will also be held online.

Marone 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.

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.

“Everyone submitting a proposal will have a chance to present it to the Green Fund Committee,” Spanbauer said.

“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.”

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.

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

Green Fund Committee Chair Sarah Kleinschmidt said that she is excited to see what proposals come through, and that she enjoys having the opportunity to help bring students’ proposals to life to help make UWO more sustainable.

Marone said that it was up to young students to help keep the sustainable campus alive.

“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.”

Kleinschmidt said that setting a good example on campus and keeping UWO’s campus environmentally friendly is the most important to her.

“I feel that influences our students, faculty, staff, our community and other campuses to reevaluate the way their current actions affect the environment,” she said. “Even if we’re unsuccessful in changing an individual’s mind, we’re still reducing our carbon footprint and laying the pathway for a more sustainable and viable future.”

For more information on meeting times and how to get involved with the Green Fund, email .