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Green Fund increases student environmental initiatives

Special to The Prospector

At Miner Heights, beside the cement floors of the basketball court, there lies a little garden. UTEP students tilled the ground, made small holes with their shovels, resurrected dry soil and filled the holes with small green bundles of plants. The once barren garden is now teeming with life.

The Miner Heights garden was a project proposed by UTEP’s Permaculture Society and funded through the Student Government Association’s Green Fund.

“The Green Fund is a pool of money that comes from $3 out of every student’s tuition and it goes to fund proposals,” said Paulina Lopez, SGA president and corporate communication major.

Up to $40,000 in funds are raised every year for sustainability projects through the Green Fund.

The Green Fund was a student-led initiative approved in 2010.

According to William Hargrove, director of the Center for Environmental Resource Management at UTEP, the strength of the Green Fund is its ability to create funds for sustainability projects and its significance to student leadership.

Hargrove acts as the representative for CERM on the committee, a position required by the Green Fund.

“It’s not something that came about because of the administration or the faculty or anything like that,” Hargrove said. “It was students who wanted to do it, and now who are also proposing the ideas for projects.”

The Green Fund is composed of a committee of four students, two administrators and one faculty member. They are appointed annually. Proposals are submitted to the committee, who then review the proposals and either approve or reject them for funding.

After a proposal is submitted, the committee considers different
factors for approval.

“We look at the cost, we look at what kind of impact it’s going to have on the campus,” Hargrove said. “Usually, the students come up with some good project ideas and we try to fund them at least partially, if not completely.”

Some other proposals that have been funded through the Green Fund include the recently implemented recycling system, solar panels installed at Miner Heights and a rent-a-bike program.

Other projects are already in
the works.

“I’m working on a project to get revolving doors here at the Union to save energy,” Lopez said.

The Permaculture Society is planning on starting another garden at Miner Village.

“Miner Village is a bigger space, so it allows us to use more techniques and different structures that relate to permaculture,” said Raul Armendariz, president of the Permaculture Society and Green Fund committee member.

The Miner Village garden will be cultivated beginning April 25.

Other projects approved by the Green Fund include the expansion of the recycling system, the purchase of large balers to recycle materials and the installment of water bottle refill stations around campus.

“Our main mission right now is to tell people about who we are and what we do,” Armendariz said. “We need students to put in proposals— that money that is in there is for the students.”

If students are interested in proposing a Green Fund project they can access the form at

Students can also contact committee members if they have any inquiries, ideas or suggestions.

Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected].

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Green Fund increases student environmental initiatives