Green Initiative Fund moved from SGA to USD Sustainability Committee
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Green Initiative Fund moved from SGA to USD Sustainability Committee

The Student Government Association voted this past October to move the jurisdiction of the Green Initiative Fund (GIF) from SGA to the USD Sustainability Committee.

The GIF gives students at USD funds provided by the general activity fund (GAF) to pursue projects on campus that make USD a more sustainable and environmentally friendly place.

Abuk Jiel, SGA President, said she hopes moving the GIF to the Sustainability Committee will let students’ sustainability projects the ability to reach their full potential.

“Over the years I don’t think (the GIF) was used to its full ability,” Jiel said. “We know sustainability is important and I think this move will do a better job at helping students make USD a more sustainable place.”

Anna Moore, the sustainability coordinator at USD, said the move will help make sustainability projects funded at USD more financially efficient, effective and worthwhile.

“Up until this point there has not been a very rigorous process for applying for (GIF’s) money,” Moore said. “Now the Sustainability Committee and four (SGA) senators will be working on refining the application criteria, discussing what the goal of this fund is and how best to achieve it and then eventually recruiting students to apply.”

Moore said the Sustainability Committee hopes to improve at giving better feedback to students with ideas for sustainability projects on campus than was previously given when the fund was under SGA’s jurisdiction.

“When a student applies (for the GIF) and has some improvement they can do on campus we’ll look at that idea, see how feasible it is, see if they need to reach out to somebody, and help them come up with a plan that is a good and solid plan,” Moore said.

Jiel said by moving the fund to the jurisdiction of the Sustainability Committee people who better understand sustainability practices will be managing the fund’s application process and implementation.

“We saw with students who were on that SGA committee who previously managed the application process that were just making decisions based on what they saw in the application,” Jiel said. “They really had no background into how sustainable this would be on campus … so it was basically like throwing a dart into the dark and hoping it would stick somehow.”

Jiel said she hopes the Sustainability Committee will be able to better cooperate with different departments around campus to make the GIF and the projects it funds more successful.

“By having the GIF within the university’s Sustainability Committee it will allow for (the Sustainability Committee), dean of students, the Housing Department and others to sit together and make sure all the boxes are being checked,” Jiel said.

Moore said she has been happy to see the steps taken by Jiel as SGA president towards sustainability initiatives in her time as president. Jiel said she hopes to see improvements in sustainability practices at USD to improve after she leaves USD this spring.

“As SGA president you always want to make sure whoever comes after you does an even better job than you could ever imagine doing … I hope whoever comes after me will be able to make USD an even more sustainable place,” Jiel said. “Making sure our students have the opportunity to do things where they can recycle or be involved with sustainable organizations to make USD as sustainable as it can be in the future is very important.”