Sustainability funding frozen, student projects being affected


AS Sustainability composting garden. Photo credit: Victoria Rohrer

A Bell Memorial Union Committee vote halted the funding cycle of the Sustainability Fund Allocation Committee for the spring 2017 semester to take a better look at the policies and codes of the AS Sustainability program.

SFAC is in charge of allocating money to students in the form of grants to help fund their sustainability projects as well as funding the five AS Sustainability paid positions.

SFAC money is always reserved to sustainability, but the committee has not yet found an effective way to spend it due to not having a policy around it.

“That’s one thing that’s missing, a policy for how to spend that money,” said Nani Teves, AS Sustainability coordinator. “The money doesn’t go away. It goes into a reserve pool.”

AS Sustainability composting garden. Photo credit: Victoria Rohrer

By freezing the funding to SFAC, students will not be able to apply for grants to help fund their projects for the upcoming semester, Teves said. But even with SFAC halted, AS Sustainability programs and This Way to Sustainability Conference will not be affected.

“Ten-thousand from the sustainability fund is allocated to that (sustainability) conference every year and pretty much no matter what. So it’s kind of a done deal,” Teves said.

People and programs affected by the halt of funds are students who planned on applying for a grant for their upcoming projects.

“It affected those who were potentially going to apply for a grant,” said Teves. “So if they were waiting for it, they can’t apply. They have to either wait until fall or maybe if they’re graduating they’ll be moving on with their lives.”

Even if students have already applied this semester, they would not receive the funding until the end of the semester.

While there are no dramatic changes due to the fund being halted, there are still missed opportunities for students who wanted to apply for funding.

“It’s a big deal that the fund is being paused,” Teves said.

Victoria Rohrer can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.