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PSU students vote this week on Green Fund referendum


“[The Green Fund] is a pool of money that works again and again as PSU takes loans from this pool and saves money by replacing utilities with sustainable ones, to pay back to the loan.” –Brendan Castricano, PSU Student Senate

Starting yesterday, Portland State University students are voting on a proposed $5 per term student fee that would generate $500,000 for the university’s student body to reduce its carbon footprint.

This “Green Fund” would include money for several sustainability initiatives, including some bike stuff. From the initiative’s website, here’s one of the programs it will establish:

Special Sustainability Projects Fund: Establish a student-governed grant making committee for small scale sustainable capital projects, such as bike parking stations, bikes for the new bike loan program, water bottle refilling stations, etc.

The Daily Vanguard, PSU’s student paper, talked to the campaign’s main champion, student senator Brendan Castricano, about how the fund will work.

“I am really excited about the green revolving loan fund, which is a pool of money that works again and again as PSU takes loans from this pool and saves money by replacing utilities with sustainable ones, to pay back to the loan,” Castricano said.

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According to the PSU Green Fund blog, this sort of program is new but not unique:

Within the lifetime of the present student body at PSU, we will hit peak oil, peak water, and peak population. History has shown universities to act as catalysts for change and innovation. At the time this research was completed in March 2009, students at 56 colleges had elected to institute green fees. Since then, the number has risen to over 60 schools. Thusfar, these new green fees are coming primarily from conservative state Universities such as the University of Georgia, the University of Utah, as well as the University of Kentucky.

The Vanguard points out that the fund, through helping the university modernize its buildings, will end up decreasing PSU’s utility costs considerably in the long run, as well as helping reduce the university’s 44,000 metric ton carbon footprint.

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