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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

BSF gets large donation, awards much of it

Published: January 27, 2012
Section: News

The Brandeis Sustainability Fund (BSF), which provides grant money to students who wish to pursue “green” projects and initiatives on campus, has awarded projects including a recycling machine and a green laundry system more than $20,000 of its grant fund to bring green innovation to the Brandeis University campus.

To work on green initiatives with BSF, a student must first complete an application involving a written expression of interest in a particular project which is then followed up by a BSF board member. Each BSF board member is assigned to a particular project and works with the student in order to develop a feasible plan of action and suggest any improvements. Once a project is accepted, funding is provided and work can begin.

In the fall semester, only a handful of projects were funded. The first project is the Greenbean Recycling Machine, lead by Taylor Early ’15. The machine, to be placed in Usdan Student Center, aims to increase recycling on campus by allowing students to return their bottles for five cents each, as outlined in the Massachusetts bottle bill law. Students would have the option whether they would apply the return to a PayPal account, put it in their WhoCash account or donate it to a charity. The final details are still to be determined, but nearly $16,000 in funding is being provided.

Philip Lu ’11 and Katherine Glanbock ’14 are also leaders on their own green initiative with “It’s A Breeze: Drying Racks.” In an effort to cut energy use on laundry here at Brandeis, the duo decided that they would devise a drying rack rental program. Each semester, students will be able to rent a drying rack for free to have in their dorms. In addition, free, public drying racks will be placed around campus laundry rooms. Around $2,300 is going to the project, and will hopefully be installed by next fall. The final green project funded during the fall 2011 semester at $1,487 to install “Windowfarms,” hydroponic growing systems to allow year-round growth of herbs and vegetables. They will be installed by the Village Quad for students to use in the shared kitchens.

Several other ideas were submitted including solar hot water and utilization of pedal power. Both have been invited to reapply their ideas.

Brandeis is unique in having such a student-driven green initiative. The process of applying involves commitment, organization and dedication on the student’s part. Their successes can be seen all across campus: DeisBikes, the Brandeis bike-rental program, is one example. The BSF board, comprised of four students and four staff and faculty members, approves projects on the basis of their impact upon the community environment, and its relevance and financial feasibility.