Now in its third year, the university’s Green RFP program has prompted implementation of a dozen student-led sustainability projects totaling $63,000. The university created the program in 2010 to help advance the Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment and Sustainability Plan.

“Student engagement is crucial to the university achieving goals in its sustainability plan,” said Denny Cochrane, sustainability program manager.  “The intent of the Green RFP process is to direct a variety of existing university financial resources to sustainability initiatives each year. We are thrilled with what students have spearheaded in the first two years of this annual project.”

In 2010-11, funded sustainable projects included 15 bike racks, 10 outdoor mixed-paper recycling bins for placement near residence halls, and an irrigation for the Smithfield Garden.

During the 2011-12 academic year, seven projects were funded as part of the program. These included additional mixed-paper recycling bins, 350 small mixed-paper recycling bins for two residence halls, four indoor waste stations for select dining services facilities, a perimeter fence, berry bushes, and fruit trees for the Smithfield Garden, additional bike racks, two water-bottle refill stations for both Newman Library and Squires Student Center, and signage for the Ytoss program.  

Cochrane noted that the amount of funding increased from about $26,000 the first year to about $37,000 the second.

“We think this shows institutional-wide interest in and commitment to sustainability as well as an engaged student body whose members truly want to make a difference,” he said. "This year, we are especially interested in proposals that support energy efficiency and energy conservation."

This year’s proposals are due Oct. 12, at the Office of Energy and Sustainability.

The university’s Energy and Sustainability Committee will prioritize the top student proposals and will forward them to the Office of Budget and Financial Planning, which, along with the Office of Energy and Sustainability, will determine potential funding strategies and appropriate approvals. Preference will be given to proposals that will support the climate action commitment and sustainability plan, that will produce realizable savings, and that require one-time rather than ongoing support. Funded proposals will be announced in early 2013.

For more information, contact Cochrane at the Office and Energy and Sustainability.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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