Senior class officers announced on Wednesday that the 2022 Senior Class Gift will be donated to the Green Fund. Housed in the Office of Sustainability, the Green Fund is a program designed to implement student-led initiatives to improve sustainability around campus.
“We are incredibly grateful for the Senior Class Gift and for the opportunity to work with the Senior Class Officers,” Ian Aley, the program manager of the Green Fund, said in an interview with The Daily Cardinal. “Their vision for how we can address the climate crisis fits well with the aims of the Green Fund. In conversations with the Senior Class Office, we have determined that the projects being funded by this donation will go towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions on campus and addressing climate change.”
Since launching in 2017, the UW-Madison Green Fund supports student-initiated projects designed to lower the environmental and social impact of campus facilities, while also lowering operating costs. The Green Fund has supported the construction of solar arrays on the Gordon Dining Hall, compost collection programs, mobile water bottle filling stations and many other projects.
“The fight of our generation is combating climate catastrophe,” Senior Class President Pranav Srivastava told the Cardinal. “The best way to extend the climate resilience conversation beyond our time on campus is to empower future students to pursue reducing UW's environmental impact.”
Aley and the SCO are currently in conversations about allocating some of the donation to implementing solar charging stations throughout campus. Whether to charge a device or provide electricity during acute outages caused by climate related weather events, solar charging stations at places like Library Mall, Union Terrace and Camp Randall would benefit the campus community and improve sustainability, according to Aley.
The Green Fund also plans to work with Transportation Services to potentially use solar panels to modernize bus stations with real-time digital displays to track buses around campus and install lights to improve safety.
“Solar panels are flashy. But this donation will also benefit behind-the-scenes work to lower campus water and energy uses in residence halls with new radiator technology,” Aley said. “Projects like that, along with changing older light bulbs, can make a big difference on greenhouse gas emissions.”
The senior class officials encourage the campus community to donate to the Green Fund class gift if they can.