SG strives to build a more sustainable campus by hosting Green Alliance Competition

Student Government’s new Green Alliance Competition allows students to submit sustainability initiatives to create an eco-friendly Tampa campus for the chance to see them implemented. SPECIAL TO THE ORACEL/USF STUDENT GOVERNMENT

A new competition has been created to make the Tampa campus less gold and significantly more green by allowing students to submit project ideas to make the campus more eco-friendly.

Student Government (SG) developed the Green Alliance Competition to allow students to submit proposals on how to make the Tampa campus more environmentally conscious. The winning project will then be presented to USF’s Green Energy Fund Council for approval and implementation.

Applications opened March 9 and must be submitted by midnight March 28. Students can participate individually or in groups.

Deliberation will take place the following week, from March 29 to April 2. SG expects the Green Alliance Competition to be a popular competition for students on the Tampa campus, and if there is a high volume of submissions, it could eventually turn into a yearly event.

Every submission must include a PowerPoint that details the big idea applicants came up with such as electric buses, gardens or other projects that perpetuate the use of green energy. The PowerPoint must include a proposed initiative, budget, timeline for implementation and a description of necessary maintenance.

Students can also get creative by including additional material to get their point across. Valentina Salcedo, assistant director of internal and community affairs, said applicants can use videos, flyers, websites or other pieces of media they believe supplement their PowerPoint.

“A successful submission can be a flyer, website or even a spreadsheet with a breakdown of costs,” Salcedo said. “We really wanted to leave the format very open so that people can get creative with what they want like videos, documents, websites, flyers, pictures, images, whatever it is that they think would best get their idea across.”

A committee composed of SG and advisers will have from March 29 to April 2 to choose the winner, which could be one individual or a group of students working together. Once a winner is determined, SG will meet with them to prepare a proposal for the Student Green Energy Fund Council.

Salcedo said the winner will receive SG’s full support and guidance in implementing their proposal as well as a plaque to celebrate the accomplishment.

Tampa campus Gov. Spencer McCloskey and Lt. Gov. Zach Blair-Andrews launched the competition as a way to positively impact the Tampa campus and its students. The idea came to be in March 2020, when McCloskey and Blair-Andrews noticed the campus lacked a focus on sustainability, according to Salcedo.

“Essentially, this competition came to be as a response for an urgent need in our campus to be more sustainable and to switch our mentality to be more environmentally friendly,” she said.

Sustainability has been a focus of McCloskey and Blair-Andrews’ administration since the beginning of their campaign. Under their sustainability pillar, they both advocated for the creation of a Campus Environmental Initiative Competition which inspired the Green Alliance Competition.

“When Zach and Spencer were campaigning for governor [and lieutenant governor], this was something that they really wanted to see come to fruition and to complete because they are very passionate about our environment and of course making our campus a better place,” Salcedo said.

For Salcedo, the idea of recognizing students’ voices and allowing them to be heard through their passions and creativity around building an eco-friendly campus was SG’s main goals when launching the competition.

Based on the results from this year and the popularity of the competition among students, the competition could become a tradition at the USF Tampa campus.

“We are here to listen to [the students] and that we are here to really complete whatever needs they might have, and that we believe in the student body, which is why we wanted to put this forward as a competition because we want to hear from students,” Salcedo said.