Ecological Design and General Efficiency: The Oberlin Green EDGE Fund CHARTER
The fund will finance innovative projects that demonstrate environmental leadership and economic benefit. It will reduce harmful environmental impacts, save the college money, and educate and empower students.
A Board will act as the decision-making, financing, and implementing body for the fund.
The student members will serve one-year, staggered terms; the non-student members will serve two-year terms. Terms may be modified to accommodate scheduling, and any member may be reappointed for further terms.
Any Oberlin student, professor, or staff member may propose a project. Student Board members will each author proposals in addition to soliciting proposals and input from other students and outside sources.
Only thorough proposals with a clear target, financial plan, implementation plan, and timeline will be voted on. Every proposal should be as financially precise and sophisticated as possible.
Types of Funding
The Green EDGE Fund finances two different types of projects: Efficiency Loans and Sustainability Grants. The Efficiency Loans are given for projects that have clear and timely financial paybacks into the fund. The Efficiency Loans are not like a standard bank loan, where the borrower pays back with interest; our “loans” are rather paid back by the energy savings due to the funded projects. For example, the EDGE Fund will give the Facilities department $5,000 to install a new boiler, and the $1,000 of yearly savings from the energy efficiency will pay back into the EDGE Fund.
The Sustainability Grants do not have any payback requirements. We expect them to be used without recovering any of our investment.
We have these two types of projects because we have two sources of funding. Part of our funding comes from the college administration, which has asked us to only invest in projects with clear financial paybacks (the Efficiency Loans). The other part of our funding comes from activity fees paid by the student body, which supported using the funding for sustainability projects in general (the Sustainability Grants).
The student and faculty members of the Board will meet on a regular basis to discuss small decisions and proposals.
Any Sustainability Grant will be (a) approved by the student members of the Board, including the Sustainability Liaison, and (b) officially approved by the Vice President of Finance.
Any Efficiency Loan under $1,000 will be (a) commented upon by Keith Watkins, Rick Gerena, and Nathan Engstrom [or their suitable replacements] while the proposal is in an unofficial stage, (b) officially approved by the student members of the EDGE Board alone, and then (c) officially approved by Keith Watkins (or his suitable replacement at the Facilities Department). Any Efficiency Loan over $1,000 will be approved by the entire board.
Every Board member will voice their approval or disapproval of the proposal in writing or at a meeting of the entire Board held at least twice a semester.
Any board member may propose a vote at any time. A proposal for funding may be approved, denied, approved with conditions, tabled for future discussion, or remanded to the authors for improvement. Consensus should be achieved where possible, but decisions will be made by majority rule when consensus is not possible.
If a Board member fails his or her duties, he or she may be removed by a privately held, unanimous vote of the other Board members. A member may also resign. In both cases, a replacement should be chosen by the established methods.
Appropriate Uses of Funds
Funds should primarily be used for materials or products, and, if necessary, professional work.
However, the board is authorized to allocate funds toward publicizing itself to the student body in an amount not to exceed $600 annually.
All other costs should be minimized, and Board consensus is required for spending on the following categories: research or monitoring equipment, community education or outreach, proposal development, and staff work.
Decisions must always emphasize smart investment.