Green Fund
INITIATIVE NAME Green Fund
UNIVERSITY Wesleyan University
TAGS funding | grants | philanthropy | fund
CONTACT Brent Packer <bpacker@wesleyan.edu> | Cassia Patel <cpatel@wesleyan.edu>
WEBSITES greenfund.wsa.wesleyan.edu | facebook.com/wesgreenfund




SUMMARY

A student-run fund that allocates ~$85,000 annually to advance our community's environmental progress. The Green Fund seeks to spur creativity, community building, and impact through funded sustainability initiatives.



IMPACT

The Green Fund funds approximately $85,000 towards sustainability projects annually, and most recently we saw a record 87% donation rate to the Green Fund. 

While the impact of the Green Fund is difficult to quantify, student contributions towards sustainability projects have undoubtedly yielded immensely positive results. Wesleyan projects have profoundly physically and pedagogically shaped our campus in the past five years. 

Projects such as Long Lane Farm and WILD Wes have shaped many physical features of our campus. By funding various aspects of Long Lane Farm, the Green Fund has financially contributed to helping the farm develop into the amazing establishment that it is today. The student-run farm produces a significant portion of what students consume in Usdan and has allowed for Wesleyan and Bon Appetit, our catering company, to shift towards a more environmentally-friendly, healthy and locally-produced food option for Wesleyan students. In addition, the Green Fund has been a major contributor to environmental conferences, publications, awareness campaigns, and various other sustainability initiatives. 



PROCEDURE

In 2010, students created the Green Fund by conducting a campus-wide referendum vote, passing a WSA resolution, and passing a resolution presented to the Board of Trustees. The 5-year pilot program would serve to further the pursuit of Wesleyan’s institutional goals towards developing an increasingly sustainable and environmentally conscientious campus. At the end of the five years, the Board of Trustees would review the achievements of the Green Fund. 

The Green Fund is financed by means of a $15 opt-out student fee and is comprised of a group of approximately 4-7 students selected through an application process and one WSA liaison. The Fund meets at least once a week to review and fund proposals from students, faculty, and staff that are submitted online via the Green Fund website (greenfund.wsa.wesleyan.edu). We aim to fund projects based on their capacity to make an environmental impact on our campus and strive to spur projects that supply a unique or innovative approach towards sustainability initiatives. 

This year marks the fifth year of the pilot program. The Board of Trustees reviewed and assessed the impact of the Green Fund on sustainability at Wesleyan. After a unanimously approved WSA Resolution in support of the renewing the fund and a presentation to the Board of the Trustees, the Board of the Trustees unanimously decided upon the continuation of the Green Fund for another five years. We hope to continue to support and strengthen Wesleyan’s sustainability movement. 



MISTAKES & LESSONS LEARNED
  • Outreach/ Awareness of the Green Fund to other students. The Fund is only as effective as the proposals we receive. We're working to make sure more Wesleyan students know about the Fund's existence.
  • Long-term commitments - use contracts. In the past, we made a long-term funding commitment that was verbally agreed upon by multiple parties, including the Wesleyan administration. However, because it was not written down, there was confusion in later years about the breakdown of funding by these parties. It took some work a few years later to sort through and correct the funding mistakes. All is fine now, but it took longer than it would have if a formal contract was written.


FUTURE PLANS

With our recent renewal by the Board of Trustees until 2020, the Green Fund plans to continue its past successes while improving in other areas. We're looking to increase outreach efforts both in the number of students, faculty, and staff who know about the Green Fund's resources, but also in make the Fund more inclusive for all communities to become involved in the sustainability movement. 

We are also looking to streamline the application process to make it even easier for people to apply and receive funding.