Editorial—NMU right to preserve the Green Fund and support sustainability

green+grass

digital-eye-vdb

“green” by Wim Vandenbussche is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

North Wind Staff

On Oct. 15 the Board of Trustees approved NMU’s school budget for the year, and managed to avoid significant cuts in many areas, including the university’s Green Fund, a fee used “to promote sustainability at NMU through programming and internal grant opportunities,” according to NMU.

There’s a lot to unpack with this year’s approval of the university budget. When COVID-19 initially started there were major concerns of whether or not the state would have to cut the university’s budget to get through. We know now that there is no change in funding, which is good news for both NMU and current students. If the budget was reduced it would have been felt throughout the university, so knowing that largely nothing will change in respects to funding is encouraging. 

The inclusion of the green fund allocation to EcoReps is exciting. The Green Fund is a $5 per semester refundable fee applied to the tuition of each student taking six or more classes in a semester, according to NMU. The money supports the operations of EcoReps, a student organization which manages most of the university’s sustainability initiatives. 

EcoReps is a student sustainability peer-to-peer education program…Reps function as the student branch of the Sustainability Advisory Council, and work together to organize campus-wide programming, carry out collaborative projects, and represent the program at various on and off-campus events,” according to their web site

NMU has long had students who appreciate the environment and conservation efforts. With the money the green fund will continue to provide, we hope to see even more student-led initiatives fighting for the environment and sustainability practices at NMU.

EcoReps manages several crucial environmentally-friendly and education initiatives at NMU. These include, for example the Northern Climate Network, which involves faculty and staff as well as students made up of more than 150 members from the Marquette area and 35 departments on campus, according to their web site.

The purpose of the Northern Climate Network is to “share current scholarship on climate change from a wide range of disciplines – from the arts and social to biology and atmospheric science to engineering and leadership,” according to the site.

Other initiatives which add value to the university in student and faculty efforts to bring sustainability into NMU’s core include the Northern Michigan University Hoop House, a research center as well as an agricultural site which both provides food to Marquette and educates. There are also three outdoor learning areas managed by EcoReps, including the Native Plant Park between The Woods and Weston Hall, the GeoPark, a circle near Weston Hall, and the EcoPark, an area located next to the Whitman Woods. 

We are glad, at the North Wind, to know that the university has continued demonstrating its support for the EcoReps, and for sustainable practices, by including the Green Fund in the 2020-21 budget. Without the work our peers do using resources from the fund, we would not have many of the educational or natural areas and communities to enjoy and learn from.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is an editorial, written by the North Wind Editorial Board in its entirety. It reflects the majority views of the individuals who make up the editorial staff of the North Wind. It is the policy of the Editorial Board not to endorse candidates for any political office, in order to avoid aligning this public forum with particular political organizations.