About the Environmental Affairs Committee

The Environmental Affairs Committee (EAC) was created as a committee of ASSOU, to serve as an avenue for involved students to discuss pertinent environmental issues. The EAC  is currently working on a campaign to encourage the SOU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy sources. The EAC also manages SOU’s Green Fund.  If you’d like to read the full EAC Bylaws, please refer to the ASSOU Bylaws.

About the SOU Green Fund

The Green Fund makes possible a unique & student-led process that empowers sustainable initiatives on campus. Generated by the Green Tag student fee of $13 per student per term, the ASSOU Environmental Affairs Committee (EAC) oversees and allocates the Green Fund. The Green Fund provides students with the funding to execute sustainable and environmentally regenerative initiatives on campus, in addition to supporting renewable energy generation and offsetting the campus water footprint.

Application for Funding Consideration from the Green Fund

Please send completed application, detailed budget, letter of support, and other relevant documents to assousustain@sou.edu 
Application due dates are as follows: Winter term funding proposals over $5,000 are due Monday of week two of winter term. Proposals under $5,000 are due Monday of week five of winter term. Spring term funding proposals over $5,000 are due Monday of week two of spring term Proposals under $5,000 are due Monday of week five of spring term

Criteria for proposals

As outlined in the ASSOU bylaws, projects funded by the EAC must increase sustainability in operation of the SOU campus. Projects should directly address sustainability in operation of the SOU campus or in the capacity that off campus activities influence on-campus sustainability. This includes a broad range of environmental considerations, including but not limited to energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction, transportation management, green procurement, green buildings, and education. This excludes travel and conferences. They must have a clearly-defined, measurable outcome within the proposed timeframe. All projects shall have a mechanism for evaluation and follow-up after funding has been disbursed. Projects that are not completed within a single academic year should have a plan for continuation during the following year, or until the project is complete. Projects should include a report made to the Environmental Affairs Committee after successful or unsuccessful implementation. They must incorporate publicity, education and outreach. The project should include some component that raises greater awareness of sustainability issues on campus. This might include an outreach component, a press release, or the fact that the project is conducted in public view. Finally they must contain a component of direct student involvement. Such projects include, but are not limited to internships, initiatives with students in oversight bodies, student research, and projects proposed by students.

2017 Green Fund Projects

Cigarette Waste Recycling Program: Capstone

The goal of this project is to provide a way for the SOU campus to start recycling cigarette waste. The EAC funds will go towards getting cigarette waste receptacles from a company called Terracycle. The funds will also go towards purchasing laminated posters to put up around the receptacles so students know that cigarette receptacles are now available. The goal of this project is to slightly reduce SOU’s waste stream on campus and move towards more environmentally positive solutions for tackling cigarette disposal.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $938

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project: Carly Jade Norton and Chanelle Janssens

SOU Ethnobotanical Garden: Capstone

The Ethnobotanical Garden will be comprised of traditionally significant plants to Native Americans in both their historical context and relevance to current members of Native American communities represented in the SOU faculty, student body, and the broader community of Ashland. On the Farm at SOU, a traditional Three Sisters Garden consisting of corn, beans, squash will be placed along with ceremonially significant plants such as sage, tobacco, and sweetgrass, to be provided as a free and locally-cultivated source for plants used in ceremony. The Three Sisters Garden will provide an illustration of a traditional agricultural system practiced all over the Americas for hundreds of years, in addition to supplying a modest amount of food. The Garden will add a strong educational element for The Farm’s expanding Sustainable Farm School on Native American culture and ceremony, past and present. It will also serve Native American community members in and outside of the university in sourcing plants for ceremonial use, removed from commerce and rooted in a sense of place.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $800

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project: Joseph Stout, Sapphire Stoner, and Lacey Hofweber


Farm Olympics: Capstone

Farm Olympics was a sustainable agricultural education event held at The Farm at SOU during the end of spring term 2017. This is an inclusive event, open to all students and faculty, as well as community outside of SOU, farmers and food-lovers alike. This interactive festival served as a celebration of sustainable agriculture combining entertainment with education to explore where our food comes from and who grows it. Students partnering with local organizations/businesses, bridging SOU’s social capital and building relationships with Rogue Valley sustainable farms and businesses. The intention here is to motivate and inspire potential young farmers. Some of the highlights were farming activities/competitions, local food, live music, and sustainability themed educational booths. Funds were used to purchase supplies for the activities, food/beverages, and promotional materials. The long-term goal is to create a foundation for an Annual Farm Olympics festival that could serve as a hub for agricultural enthusiasts to share resources, inspire, and learn from one another.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $1,000

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Jasmine Lillich


Green House on The Farm at SOU

The Farm and Center for Sustainability are in need of a professional quality greenhouse to expand currently existing education programs. This structure will serve as the “womb” of the outdoor education programs that are focused on sustainability in agriculture and awareness of the natural world and its systems and life cycles. The greenhouse will allow The Farm to expand its successful existing programs and facilitate classes in an outdoor space in order to educate students. The funds will be used to purchase the greenhouse, which will function for decades to come. The Farm currently has a small greenhouse that has served the Farm well for the last five years. However, this greenhouse is more of a “homeowner” type structure and is rapidly deteriorating beyond repair. The sensible use of future funding is to invest in a professional quality greenhouse that will last for 20 years or more.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $5,000

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project: Laurie Hultquist


Reusable Cups for The ECOS Dish Rental Program and the 2017 Earth Week


The Earth Week Publicity Team requested $2,637.80 for the funding of 576 stainless steel 12 ounce cups. These stainless steel cups were printed with the new Sustainability at SOU logo in black ink. These cups were used to market and advertise Sustainability at SOU to current students and community members. The cups were used in three different ways, the first way was giving away 200 cups at two of the large scale Earth Week events to increase student participants. These giveaways were publicized to students to encourage students to attend these two large-scale events. Roughly 250 of the stainless steel cups were given to conference attendees at the Oregon Indian Education Association (OIEA) Conference taking place during Earth Week 2017. The OIEA Conference was committed to reducing waste and being as zero waste as possible. By providing all conference attendees with a free stainless steel cup, the conference did not have to provide attendees with one-time use plastic or paper cups. The last 126 cups are kept at ECOS and have been integrated into ECOS’s existing reusable dish rental program. Any club or organization on the SOU campus will be able to rent 126 cups for free in order to make various SOU events as zero waste as possible.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $2,637.80

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Sydney Lund


Solar Power Purchasing Agreement

This project aims to develop a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Southern Oregon University and the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University (ASSOU). ASSOU representatives requested funds to purchase one hundred and seventy six solar panels to be installed on the roof of the SOU Music Building. The energy generated by these panels will then be sold to the University at a competitive rate. The revenue generated by this PPA will then be transferred into the Green Fund, providing the Green Fund with additional funds that can be used to finance new projects.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $100,000

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project: Jeremy Nootenboom


Stevenson Union Gallery, LED Light Bulbs

The Stevenson Union Gallery LED Light Bulb project was developed in order to provide the Stevenson Union Gallery with LED lighting alternatives. By upgrading to LED bulbs for the space, the Stevenson Union Gallery longer needs to spend budgeted money on halogen bulbs. Electric utility costs for the space will be reduced due to this project.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $600

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project:  Hannah Bakken

2016 Green Fund Projects

Phenology Garden: Capstone

Using phenology as an indicator for trends in climatological change, both short-term and long-term, students at Southern Oregon University had the opportunity to demonstrate both the advancement of events such as “bud burst” (Spring) and the delay of discoloration of leaves (Fall). By integrating an on-going data collection technique into the Environmental Studies curriculum where students continually add data to the USA National Phenology Network, the long-term goal of providing strong evidence of climate change on a national level will be achieved. Awareness of the issue amongst SOU students and the Ashland community will be heightened.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $922

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Timothy Vevoda


Solar Power-Dok Table Outside of Stevenson Union

The Solar Power-Dok table provides additional seating space and allows students to charge their electronics using only solar power. The Solar Power-Dok tables helps raise awareness about SOU’s dedication to continue to use products that align with that philosophy. SOU’s existing solar panels on the library and Stevenson Union often go unnoticed and this solar table creates a sense of community while providing a much more visible statement of SOU’s commitment to sustainability.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $12,245

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Alicia Hansen & Michelle Parmenter


Take Back the Tap Water Refill Stations

Twelve water refill stations have been installed into every building on campus that previously did not a water refill station in place. These water refill stations provide students with access to safe and purified drinking water on campus. This initiative was put forth by students involved with the Take Back the Tap Campaign, a campaign aimed at eliminating the sell of non reusable plastic water bottles on the SOU campus. Now, every building on campus has a water refill station inside.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $18,087.84

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Sydney Lund


CVA Gallery LED Lighting

Upgrading to LED bulbs for the CVA Gallery promotes efficiency in energy and usage of funds as well as adds to the galleries’ worth by promoting updated and sustainable spaces on campus. The LED alternatives prevent bulb burn-outs. The halogen bulbs in place prior to funding this project burn out at a quick rate in an unpredictable nature. These burnouts often occur during an exhibition and impact the experience of the artwork for the viewers. Through the funding of this project, the CVA Gallery is able to carry a more professional aesthetic which has added value to the CVA Gallery through awareness and interest.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $1,237.51

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Hannah Bakken                      


Natural Building at the Farm

As the first earthen structure at SOU, the natural building will provide a novel perspective to sustainability at SOU. It will bring to light the environmental impacts of construction while providing a sustainable alternative. The structure will provide students experience and education during its construction, and will provide ongoing awareness and outreach through its informational plaque for many years. This will also provide a long-term impact to running an efficient farm enterprise to the staff at The Farm at SOU.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $6,000

Project Status: Not Completed

Student Lead for Project: Aaron Gibson

2015 Green Fund Projects

The Farm Sculpture: Capstone 

This was an important contribution to the SOU community.  The addition of public art to the Farm adds beauty as well as serves as an important statement as to the value of sustainable projects on campus. The artist statement inspires SOU students as well as visiting public school students who are taught by SOU teachers in training. The sculpture inspires students from many disciplines to think about their contribution to sustainability. The sculpture is a very valuable contribution to the Farm and to sustainability knowledge on campus.This sculpture resides in the pollinator garden/apiary at the Farm. 

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $719.90

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Johanna Boyd


Rogue River Room LED Lighting

The original goal of the project was to replace 750 fluorescent light fixtures and bulbs in the Rogue River Room (RRR) of the Stevenson Union with more efficient and better quality LED lighting. The goals of using LED lights included improving energy efficiency, improving the quality of light in the space, and reducing labor costs associated with lamp replacement overtime. The fluorescent lights that had been in the RRR were beginning to fail and were no longer available for purchase. Rather than finding a similar fluorescent replacement lamp, the Stevenson Union management team and campus electricians worked to find a suitable LED replacement. The LED bulbs were installed and have been brilliantly illuminating the RRR for crowds since the summer of 2015. The project includes environmental and economic benefits. The project is expected to save more than 39,000 kWh per year in electricity, resulting in approximately $2,929 in utility bill savings. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the energy savings from the RRR LED Lighting project is equivalent to 27.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is equivalent to the emissions from: 5.8 passenger cars driven for one year, or 2.9 home's’ energy use for one year, or 63.5 barrels of oil consumed, or carbon sequestered by 710 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $16,875.50

Project Status: Completed

Staff Advisor for the Project: Danielle Mancuso


The Farm Composting and Tractor: Capstone

This composting tractor is an important contribution to the SOU community.  The tractor serves many purposes on the Farm as well as maintaining The Farm’s composting process. The process of composting is a visual contribution to the power of sustainable, organic farming.  It directly supports The Farm’s operations and serves as a teaching tool for visiting students. The tractor and composting bins are a  valuable contribution to The Farm and to sustainability knowledge on campus.  Students are trained to use the tractor, which increases student farming skillsets. The tractor enhances the quantity and quality of the production of food on the farm that gives the farm the capacity to serve more students through CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) or through dining hall sales. 

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $8,223

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Satchel Pondolfino


The Farm Mycology Project: Capstone

The attempt at growing mushrooms at The Farm at SOU is complete.  However it was not a successful project. The goal to pilot growing mushrooms on the Farm was a good one, however the follow through on the project was marginal. This could have been a very interesting and beneficial project for students to learn about the importance of mycology and to encourage the support of the species.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $199.31

Project Status: Completed

Staff Advisor for Project: Nancy Shea

2014 Green Fund Projects

Bike Program: Capstone 

In spring 2014, the EAC granted $33,181 from the Green Fund as start-up funds for the new SOU Bike Program, based on their presentation of a “SOU Bike Program Master Plan” developed as part of their capstone project. The SOU Bike Program is a program co-managed by ECOS Sustainability Resource Center and the SOU Outdoor Program (OP). With the funds granted from Green Fund, 48 new Trek bikes plus locks, helmets, and racks were purchased and are now rented out to students at the OP for $50/term. The start-up funds also paid for one student mechanic to purchase, build, and manage the new rental fleet, as well as one student program coordinator to set-up branding, marketing, and outreach processes for bike education and advocacy goals. The SOU Bike Program structure has remained the same since initiating the project in fall 2014. Funding to operate the program now comes in part from bike rental revenue and in part from student incidental fees.

The SOU Bike Program benefits students by providing much-needed resources, services, and education for adopting a bicycle-oriented transportation and recreation lifestyle, improving the sustainability of their own personal practices and building a bike-friendly campus culture dedicated to alternative transportation and reducing our collective and individual impact on the earth’s resources. The education and outreach activities, as well as the main management and coordination of the overall program will remain under the ECOS umbrella, thus maintaining the program’s close ties and programmatic goals of advocating for sustainability and the adoption of sustainable practices on campus. The bike program enhances student success through promotion and education of the health benefits of bicycling, as well as through providing student workers and volunteers with opportunities for leadership development. SOU Bike also has a goal of assisting with student advocacy and outreach, as we serve as advocates for maintaining a bicycle-friendly campus to help students with access to an affordable and healthy biking lifestyle.

In December 2016, the SOU Bike program was successful in our efforts to have SOU designated as a “Bicycle Friendly University” by the League of American Bicyclists, where we received a silver award! This new award will add to SOU’s collection of national accolades, increasing our recruitment and retention efforts.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $33,181

Project Status: Ongoing

Student Lead for Project: Leigh Naughman and Tiffany Mancillas

2013 Green Fund Projects

Solar Panels on the Dorm 

The solar panels were funded and installed in 2014. The funding provided from the Green Fund was through a bridge funding agreement with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation that is valid through June 30, 2019. The goals of the project were to provide funding support to install solar on the new residence halls. The funding available as part of the construction project was not enough to cover all eligible roof space with solar. The funding from the Green Fund provided the funding needed to purchase the largest possible solar array for McLoughlin Hall. Additional goals of the project included supporting SOU’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by expanding the campus solar asset.

This project resulted in the installation of a 73.7 kW solar system on McLoughlin Hall. The system generates 109,000+ kWh of electricity each year, preventing more than 76 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. This contributes to a reduction in the university’s carbon footprint and supports the university’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. The carbon emissions saved by the solar panels is equivalent to the emissions from: 16.2 passenger vehicles driven for one year, or 8.1 home's’ energy use for one year, or 177 barrels of oil consumed, or carbon sequestered by 1,985 tree seedlings grown for 10 years.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $85,000

Project Status: Completed

Student Lead for Project: Sai Weiss


Solar Panels on the Stevenson Union

The goal of this project was to fund a solar installation on the roof of the Stevenson Union. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) offered the opportunity for the Green Fund to receive $63,000 of bridge funding, to be paid back over a five year period. The payment contract extends through December 2018, when the full $63,000 loan will be repaid to BEF.

This project benefits all students in several ways. First, the solar panels on the roof generate electricity that is supplied directly to the student union building (Stevenson Union), reducing the amount of energy that the building must draw from the regional utility grid. That means that the student union building has lower utility bills, thus requiring less funding from student fees to pay energy costs. Second, the panels are the most easily accessible solar array on campus, providing an ideal space to allow students to experience solar panels up close. We regularly bring classes and other campus groups on the roof to see the panels and learn more about solar energy and other campus sustainability initiatives.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $63,000

Project Status: Not Completed

Staff Advisor for Project: Roxane Beigel-Coryell

2012 Green Fund Projects

The SOU Center for Sustainability, Five Year Budget

Original Proposal for the SOU Center for Sustainability: The SOU Center for Sustainability is a living and learning laboratory for applied research and projects in sustainability. The Center serves as a community resource for sustainability education, fosters sustainable business development, promotes interconnectedness, and facilitate leadership training through thoughtful learning and practice. The SOU Center for Sustainability serves Southern Oregon as an interdependent hub of innovative sustainability training, leadership, and technology. Through community and industry partnership, the Center models a learning space for innovation, global citizenry, and sustainable living. The Center adds beauty to the SOU campus as a place of art, resilience, thoughtful activity, and transformation. SOU students, faculty, and staff work collectively with community leaders, children, families, businesses, neighbors, leaders, and government to train sustainability leaders through hands-on authentic solution development. The Center is a place of respect for culture and tradition, models equity, promotes ecological consciousness, and values fiscal responsibility. The innovative structure of the Center encourages service learning by providing a place for community-based problem solving, civic agriculture designed to alleviate food insecurity, and an explicit focus on synergistic partnership.

Brief History of The Farm at SOU

2012-13

Initial Idea - Secured Site

Green Fund Allotment for initial planning and development of $200K over 5 years, from 2012-2017

2013-14

Removed blackberry bramble and dumped fill material

Installed irrigation and electricity - built fence 

Built hoophouse and repaired barn

2014-15

First produce production - 10 CSAs

Built Outdoor Classroom

2015-16

Expanded Production - 30 CSAs

Hosted Rogue Valley Farm to School Programs

2016-17

Expanded Production - 65 CSAs

Sustainability Farm School

Construction starting on The Thalden Pavilion

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $180,000

Project Status: Completed in 2017

Water Offset Credits

From 2012-2017, the EAC Green Fund offset SOU’s water footprint through a partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). SOU restored 100% of the water we use on campus to a critically dewatered stream in the nearby Klamath River Basin. SOU was the first university to offset 100% of our water footprint through this project.

Project Budget provided by the EAC: $337,500

Project Status: Completed

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