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  • Grannt Epstein

Student Fund Helps "Green" UT

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

By Grannt Epstein

Collegian Staff Writer, Secretary

As of February, the student-funded solar installation at the Health Science campus has generated more than $60,000 in revenue for the university and helped UT save nearly $30,000 on its power bills. With a price tag of $350,000, the solar park was the single biggest project approved by the Student Green Fund in the group’s history. The park was built in 2020.

Established in 2012, the Student Green Fund finances various projects around campus that “promote sustainability, renewable energy, efficiency, waste reduction” as well as “educational initiatives such as conferences, workshops, public classes, and internships.”

“I am really excited in having such a pivotal role in sustainability projects on campus,” said Green Fund Student Manager Olivia Onago.

Some of the other initiatives paid for by the Student Green Fund over the years include the solar powered charging picnic tables, benches made of recycled materials, the hammock park in the flatlands, the rain garden near Carlson Library, and the water bottle-filling stations.

“Last semester, we distributed about 80 plants at the Eberly Center to serve as emotional support plants,” Onago said. They were gone within two days.

The Student Green Fund receives around $90,000 each year through a $5 fee students decide if they want to pay each semester. Between 40 and 50 percent of all students opt out of the fee, according to Mike Green, UT’s Director of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency, and advisor to the Student Green Fund.

While students decide if they want to help fund the Student Green Fund each semester, the group’s student majority committee decides how the money will be spent.

Students, student organizations, faculty, and staff can submit their “green” or sustainable idea to the Student Green Fund Committee. The committee then decides which projects to fund and how much money each one will receive.

Individual students with project requests have gone to the Student Green Fund for support. Sustainable organizations, such as SEED or BOSEF, have secured funding from the Student Green Fund through collaborative projects. Organizations that have little to do with sustainability, such as Student Government, have collaborated with the Green Fund.

For more information or to inquire about a project, contact


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