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Student Affairs reorganizes Green Energy Fund

The new homepage for the Student Green Energy Fund, usf.edu/SGEF, includes information about the organization’s current projects along with past ones. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

After four years of successful proposals and initiatives, the Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) has revamped its proposal process by moving it to Student Affairs.

Previously controlled by the Office of Sustainability in the Patel College of Global Sustainability, the update to the SGEF has created a partnership between the two departments that allows for year-round green energy proposals from students and faculty.

“Student Affairs manages all other student fees and has an infrastructure set and a business office that can handle the financial aspects and paper work of these proposals,” said SGEF Executive Director Harold Bower. “Those at the Office of Sustainability have other jobs to focus on, and it makes more sense to put part of (SGEF) in Student Affairs control.”

The SGEF, which comes from a $1 per credit hour fee, began in 2011 “to support the University of South Florida’s commitment to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the Tampa campus,” according to its website. 

This breakdown of responsibilities will let students and faculty submit proposals online year-round, rather than the old system of once in October and once in March. 

“USF is rapidly becoming a year-round institution and we’re moving toward year-round programming,” Bower said. “That reason, and a change from all proposals being competitive, made the two-windows approach obsolete.”

When the transition began earlier this year, there were still some rolling projects, including the Share-a-Bull bike share program.

“(Share-a-Bull) was passed over in progress (during the transition),” Bower said. “Having Student Affairs work on it is helpful because Campus Rec facilitates that into operation.” 

John Pilz, a senior majoring environmental science and policy, proposed another recent initiative worked on by the new partnership to go alongside the Share-a-Bull program.

“After seeing a project in Cypress where LEDs were retro-fitted in the garage, I noticed the difference and thought it should be in every garage,” Pilz said. “This proposal was for $268,000 for the (installation) of LED lighting on all eight stories of the Beard garage. I drew a connection between what we have and what we can do.”

A full list of SGEF project initiatives, complete with project costs, can be found on the fund’s new website, usf.edu/SGEF, which launched at the end of September.

Pilz has proposed several initiatives that have been implemented by SGEF, including more electric vehicle charging stations on campus. He said after seeing sign-ups in the Marshall Student Center (MSC), he became involved in SGEF. 

“They didn’t really advertise (SGEF). It’s student money that we have the ability to use for our benefit — we can institute green projects that make students lives better,” he said. “Now that they made the transition, they have the funds and ability to advertise something we pay money for.”

To reach more students like Pilz, Student Affairs is hoping to make things more approachable for students by improving its marketing and by educating students about the process.

“We are introducing new workshops for students,” Bower said. “We want them to better understand the different layers of the process. This is a refresh of the old way (of advertising). Another way is that we have communications and marketing people. We have publicity for (SGEF.)”

The next workshop will be held Oct. 27 from 1 to 2 p.m., in MSC 2702.