Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Take advantage of the Green Fund

Quinn McGuinness

Austin continues to lead in sustainability and environmentally conscious practices. From green spaces to renewable energy prioritization, Austin is a role model for Texas’ environmental movement. 

This passion for sustainability isn’t exclusive to city officials — many students and organizations at UT devote themselves to this cause. Institutions like the Campus Environmental Center and groups like Longhorns Don’t Litter help keep UT on par with growing environmental standards. However, these individuals and organizations are limited by financial constraints, and navigating grants and funding can feel insurmountable. 

Luckily, UT has a mechanism to address this challenge. The UT Green Fund is a sustainability-focused grant and funding program available to all UT students, faculty and staff. The fund aims to encourage sustainable projects and research without financial restrictions, and funding is given out annually in larger amounts following a student committee review or on a rolling basis through micro-grants. This year, Longhorns and student organizations should apply for funding from the UT Green Fund. 

Jill Parrish, the Green Fund program coordinator, oversees applications, accounting and finance management for the grant program. The fund is raised from an annual tuition allocation of $5 per student, and Parrish explained this is all the more reason to apply.

“It’s your money, and it’s here specifically to help you with your projects,” Parrish said. “It was created by students for students to advance sustainability and environmental projects and research on campus.”

Students may overlook the fund because they feel their chances of being financed are slim when compared to more established organizations or projects. In reality, any organization is equally eligible for funding. 

Brynn Havern, an environmental science senior and co-director of sustainability in Beevo Beekeeping, explained that the Green Fund gave the organization its start.

“We applied for a Green Fund, and we were given money to purchase our first hives and have our hive site on campus,” Havern said.

The money from the fund provided Beevo with startup financing and also funded pollinator gardens, tool purchases and the hiring of a professional beekeeper as a mentor. The Green Fund can apply to nearly any cost for a project or organization, including funding equipment or paying for guest speakers. 

Havern said the fund’s benefits are numerous and encouraged anyone with even a remote interest to apply. 

“It’s always worth applying,” Havern said. “Maybe you’re not going to get it and maybe your project doesn’t totally align with the Green Fund grant, but it’s always worth applying to any grant if you think you even have a chance.”

Applications for the annual Green Fund grants are due Feb. 11, ranging, on average, from $5,000 to $50,000, and micro-grants are given out on a rolling basis in smaller quantities. If you are interested in kickstarting an environmental project on campus or are in an organization with a sustainability-focused mission, don’t hesitate to apply. You can help your community and the planet, and it may not cost you a dime.

Doud is a journalism and government freshman from Conroe, TX.

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