Green Fund looks toward progress

Apr 27th, 2017 | By | Category: 2016-2017, News

By Kellen Bulger
Staff Writer

When traveling around Willamette’s campus, you are destined to find evidence of a project that the Green Fund helped create. Whether it be Goudy’s implementation of composting leftover food or a simple covered bike rack outside of Montag, the Green Fund changes Willamette’s campus in a variety of ways that are often overlooked by the student-body and faculty alike.

College campuses are often leaders when it comes to progressive changes in communities, and it doesn’t just have to be secluded to a small recycling program. Willamette’s Green Fund and many other similar programs provide for social justice movements as well, to name just one more of the many things that these student-run funds support.

The Green Fund is supported on campus through a $25 fee that is implemented in each non-ASP undergraduate student’s dues that everyone has the option to opt-out of if they choose. This small fee is where the funds for numerous projects throughout campus is drawn from. Furthermore, the fund has five different dates throughout the academic year in which students can apply for a “mini-grant” and then one “annual-grant” which has a deadline in late February. The Green Fund also has a committee which is comprised of students and faculty, which votes regularly on the allocation of funds.

This next fall, one of the recipients of the Green Fund is rising senior and biology major Hannah Swanson. The funding that she receives by way of the fund will allow for a continuance of a project which builds granaries (acorn storage sites) and cavities (nesting boxes) to aid in the conservation and promotion of Acorn Woodpeckers in Willamette’s Zena Forest. The loss of oak woodlands in the Willamette Valley poses a significant threat to the Acorn Woodpeckers and Swanson is hoping that the continued funding will allow for habitat reconstruction for the woodpeckers to be continued and to aid in the curtail of the loss of population among the Acorn Woodpeckers.

“Without funding, I couldn’t know whether or not my implements were being used. With high tech 24-hour monitoring camera traps, provided by the grant’s funding, I’ll be able to collect valuable data on this population and its use of the artificial implements,” said Swanson

When asked how Green Fund has supported her project Swanson said, “I think the grants give individual Willamette students an awesome opportunity to pursue an idea or passion that promotes sustainability on Willamette’s campus.”

The funding that students receive is not merely for a token project here or there. Take Swanson’s woodpecker project for example: In the fall, she hopes to not only provide a more stable habitat in the Zena forest, but eventually bring the species of bird to Salem and Bush Park.

Swanson plans to continue to pursue the study on the Acorn Woodpecker for her upcoming senior thesis this upcoming academic year

“Without the Green Fund Grant, I would not have the opportunity to pursue this project for my thesis,” Swanson said.

One of the most common regrets that seniors have once they leave their respective institutions is that they wish they had taken advantage of more opportunities and resources available to them during their years as an undergraduate. Willamette’s Green Fund is a unique and special opportunity for students that can also provide an excellent framework for future opportunities.

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