Fund to finance sustainability projects on campus
By CAMILLE BOND ’17
President H. Kim Bottomly recently announced that Wellesley has established a Green Revolving Fund to finance sustainability projects on campus with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the campus.
The Green Revolving Fund initially consists of a seed fund, which is used to invest in sustainability projects on campus. The money saved as a result of the projects is then returned to the fund in order to finance more projects in the future.
Wellesley’s Green Revolving Fund will be managed by a nine-person committee consisting of two students, one faculty member from the Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability, the Vice President for Finance and Administration, a controller or representative, the Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning, the Facilities Business Manager, the Director of Operations and the Director of Sustainability.
President Bottomly’s announcement about the Green Revolving Fund stated that work on sustainability projects will begin this summer. The projects will include replacing the fluorescent lights on campus with more efficient LED lights. The committee will also calculate potential energy savings from other projects, such as improving insulation efficiency.
According to Mayrah Udvardi ’14, eco-representative coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, the administration has experienced increasing pressure from groups such as Fossil Free Wellesley, the Office of Sustainability and the Sustainability Advisory Committee to improve the campus’ sustainability.
The Fund is one part of the three-part plan that President Bottomly presented in response to Fossil Free Wellesley’s demands for divestment. The other parts of the plan are the Wellesley Campus Renewal program and continued support for activism and environmental education on campus. The Board of Trustees ultimately decided not to divest.
By establishing the Green Revolving Fund, President Bottomly and the Board of Directors have indicated a focus on reducing the campus’ harm to the environment.
“This Fund will be an important mechanism for Wellesley as we work to help curb the effects of climate change and to ensure that Wellesley is a more sustainable campus for future generations of students,” Bottomly said.
Though the establishment of the Fund is a step toward sustainability for Wellesley, it may not satisfy demands for divestment.
“The Fund should not be seen as a substitute for divestment. The Green Revolving Fund is important on a local scale, but contributes less to systemic change, which is ultimately what is necessary to create a just and sustainable world for us all,” Udvardi said.
Programs similar to Wellesley’s new Green Revolving Fund exist at colleges nationwide. Iowa State’s Live Green! Revolving Loan Fund has already been used to improve lighting and heating efficiency and to implement a composting program. Oberlin College’s Green EDGE Fund has been used to implement similar programs as well as programs to introduce more efficient showerheads and clothes dryers.