posted 2011-10-05 13:15:38

T.G.I.F. Gives All Hunter Students an Opportunity to Help the Environment

Eugene Ostrovskiy

Contributing Writer

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) is a grant program at Hunter College that will award money to fund student ideas and projects that will help the environment. Hunter students are invited to submit proposals to TGIF detailing how Hunter can save energy, install renewable energy sources, reduce pollution. Superior proposals will be awarded grant money from TGIF.

According to budget data found on TGIF's website, this year TGIF has over $80,000 in grant money to fund environmental proposals. Last April the majority of students voted to establish such a fund to promote the environment which led to Hunter College allocating $43,000 from unused money from the Student Activity Fee. The Student Activity Fee came from a charge of $2.00 per full-time undergraduate student and $0.80 per part-time undergraduate student added to tuition. Last year the money was not used, effectively doubling the budget for this years grant submissions.

Jasmine Bayron, a member of the Hunter Sustainability Project (HSP), summarized the reasoning for starting TGIF. "TGIF is a great opportunity for students to do something similar to Hunter Solar without jumping through hoops, and [it] promotes grassroots."

Lauren Swaddell is one of the people evaluating the proposals and determining who will receive funding along with a committee of seven members of the HSP. She said that they plan to examine the proposal based upon feasibility, levels of current support, the effects on the environment in and around Hunter College, and how ready and willing an applicant is to pursue the project.

"As someone who has helped contribute to sustainability at Hunter and sustainability education at Hunter. It is a really awesome feeling and a rewarding process because you see the differences that you made," said Swaddell, "all ideas are welcome."

The most viable proposals that have been discussed are a rooftop garden for Hunter College, incorporating environmental awareness into regular education, finding ways to save power, and encouraging the use of bicycles. There are also some proposals that focus on reducing energy use rather than improving efficiency. The deadline for student proposals is October 17.

In addition to TGIF, HSP manages other projects designed to promote the environment around Hunter. HSP recently finished installing solar panels on the roof of Hunter College to relieve the local electricity grid. HSP will be holding tours of the rooftop in the near future in the hopes of raising awareness and educating students about sustainability.

At their latest meeting the members of the HSP also discussed their plan to have a compost party. They hope to collect garbage that can be processed and then used to improve the soil quality in New York City parks. They hope to empower students and encourage them to feel that they can make a difference for the environment.

HSP will be hosting a workshop that will show people how to submit proposals and brainstorm them for TGIF. The workshop is going to be held on October 5 at 1:30 PM in HW 407 and all Hunter students who are interested or have proposals are welcome to attend. More information on HSP and TGIF can be found at their website, hunter.cuny.edu/huntergreen.