Student Sustainability Committee now accepting project proposals

For those who think they have what it takes to make campus a more sustainable place, the Student Sustainability Committee, or SSC, is welcoming ideas.

The committee has just issued its 2010 Request for Proposals.

Project ideas will be judged based on several criteria: energy and sustainability impact, campus impact, project longevity, budget effectiveness, likelihood for success, visibility to student body, creativity, and education and outreach.

Submissions of project ideas are open to all students, staff, faculty, Registered Student Organizations and University departments.

Stephanie Zec, secretary of the SSC, said the committee will be able to fund more projects this year, which will help further campus sustainability.

“The committee will have more money this year than it has had in past years due to the increase in green fees to $14,” she said, referring to a resolution passed by student vote last March.

Committee chair Suhail Barot said it’s important for students to participate.

“It’s student money, so you obviously want students to be engaged in the process and you want them to have a voice in this,” he said.

SSC uses the revenue from the $2 Clean Energy Technology Fee and the $14 Sustainability Fee, which brings in over $1 million, to fund environmental projects on campus.

Past accomplishments include the Student Sustainable Farm, Solar Decathlon, green roof and solar array at the Business Instructional Facility, Automatic Lighting Controls in several buildings with sensors that shut off power after inactivity, and many more.

One example of a past student-driven proposal, Barot said, is the student biodiesel initiative.

This project takes waste vegetable oil from the University dining halls and converts it into biodiesel fuel that can be used by campus vehicles. Current production levels are at about 250 gallons of biodiesel per week, and they plan to increase output.

Zec said that since many of these projects require a great deal of work and research it can be a lot to take on for one person, so students can team up as a group or with University departments.

“The projects that we fund are on such a great and grand scale. These are projects that have been in the works for a couple of years or months, and usually the time scale for a student project is much smaller,” she said.

Proposals should be well thought out and have all of the bases covered before submitting the idea, Zec said.

Stephanie Garcia, sophomore in DGS, said she thinks it is great that more projects will be able to be funded this year, and that she is excited to see what comes of it.

For anyone who has an idea he or she thinks can be implemented on campus, a proposal is due to the committee by Nov. 24.