GV approves sustainability fund

GVL Archive / Brittany Jacques

GVL Archive / Brittany Jacques Sustainability

Molly Waite

In October, faculty, staff and whole departments around Grand Valley State University will run into more funding to pay for new projects and free up budgets for other purchases. The Sustainable Community Reinvestment Fund, a brand-new program, will provide grants and loans to different parts of the university.

“The Sustainable Community Reinvestment Fund is a program that provides funding in the form of start-up capital for projects that add value to the GVSU community,” said Bart Bartels, project manager of the GVSU Sustainable Community Development Initiative. “Grants will be available for student projects that add value that may not necessarily be measured in financial terms. Faculty, staff and departments can apply for loans to be repaid as savings to the department accrues. Once the loan is repaid, the departmental savings continues, thereby freeing up part of the budget for other purchases.”

Previously, university funding was provided through the Sustainable Mini-Grants program, which will be absorbed into the Sustainable Community Reinvestment Fund next month.

An oversight committee for the fund will review the applications and determine the best use of the funds, Bartels said.

The committee chair is Wendy Wenner, dean of the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is assisted on the committee by Steve Glass, Norman Christopher, Julia Mason and Bartels from the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Brian Copeland, assistant vice president for Business and Finance, Jarrett Martus, president of the Student Senate, and Jennifer Schick, assistant controller of the GVSU, will also be part of the committee.

“Students and faculty should view this fund as a potential resource for supporting sustainability projects and programs,” Mason said. “The fund will foster the development of innovative programs that will make a difference at GVSU and in the community.”

The goal of the Reinvestment Fund loans is to create the best return and the shortest payback period to the fund, Bartels said. The higher the return on each investment, the faster the fund will grow. Harvard University’s reinvestment fund has a return of 30 percent per year, which is a better return than their endowment.

The goal of grant funds is to add value to the GVSU community above and beyond financial value.

“We hope to get a wide range of sustainability projects,” Glass said. “We hope to fund high value projects and help set some examples for future projects.”

Student involvement in the Sustainable Community Reinvestment Fund is a pivotal aspect to the continued success of GVSU, Glass added. Innovative students will be able to put their ideas to work with the seed money that the Fund is designed to provide.

“This is a reinvestment back to Grand Valley to provide opportunities for students, staff and faculty to improve the Grand valley campus,” Glass said. “Students who want to take action and make a difference have a source of funding to implement sustainability projects. We are priming the pump for long term sustainability of our campus.”

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