October 08, 2012

By Heather Johns

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Innovative sustainability projects start with an idea, but need funding to become a reality. Thanks to Bucknell University's Green Fund, the idea is the hard part.

The Green Fund aims to empower the University and its students to build a sustainable community, while remaining financially sustainable itself.

"The Green Fund puts out the initial funds for a project, then uses cost savings generated by that project along with gifts to the fund to finance new initiatives," said John Luthi, current chair of the Green Fund Committee and 2004 Bucknell alumnus. "The goal is to reduce costs and Bucknell's carbon footprint, and increase sustainability initiatives across campus."

Started by Molly Burke, Class of 2010, the Green Fund is directed by the Campus Greening Council, which was created four years ago as a part of the University's commitment to climate change. The sustainability projects it funds are proposed by the campus community and must demonstrate environmental leadership and economic benefit.  

"The Green Fund is important to Bucknell because it provides the funds for sustainable improvement across campus while educating the campus community about revolving green funds and the importance of sustainability," said Green Fund Committee member Ginna Freehling, Class of 2015. "It is meant to inspire people to submit innovative solutions in the form of renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and any other aspect of sustainability."

For the first Green Fund project, Bucknell installed Vending Miser motion sensors on 41 campus vending machines in August 2011. The project cost $7,032.50 and resulted in an energy savings of 3,500 kWh monthly (42,000 kWh per year), saving the University about $4,200 a year. Vending Misers may sound stingy, but they have already generated enough savings that the Green Fund is ready to fund another project. || Submit a sustainability proposal.

"People can get involved with the Green Fund by submitting a proposal online," said Freehling. "They can also donate to the fund and help spread awareness about it by educating others and encouraging submission of project proposal ideas."

Freehling hopes more innovative sustainability ideas will become a campus reality in the future. "I am excited for the Green Fund to grow and inspire the campus community for years to come," she said. "I think it has a lot of potential."

Contact: Divison of Communications

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