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Green funds up for grabs

by admin October 27, 2009

Student groups looking for funding presented their cases to the Sustainability Action Fund last Friday.
“We have a lot of money here at SAF,” the Fund’s coordinator Louise Birdsell Bauer told those who had gathered to hear eight campus-based groups make their presentation. “So be honest in your feedback. It is not a competition.”
The SAF is supported by a student fee levy. Projects that receive funding from the Fund promote sustainability on campus, and are asked to associate themselves with the SAF once funding has been granted. The Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore was one of the groups that presented at the meeting. The bookstore, as was recently reported in the Concordian, is currently $12,800 in debt to the Concordia Student Union and at least $10,000 in debt to an unnamed lender. It was also recently granted permission to ask students for a 9-cent per-credit fee levy during the Concordia Student Union referendum in November.
During the presentation, the Co-op’s manager Larissa Dutil said the money sought from the SAF would not directly fund the store or alleviate its debt. She said the money would be used to re-vamp its outdated website, helping the store increase its visibility and create an online database of its inventory.Each group was asked to indicate the specific amount of money it was requesting. Dutil, however, was unable to provide any concrete amount.
When the floor opened to the public, a student in attendance asked the store’s manager to assign a value to her proposal.
Before finally saying, “Let’s just say $1,800,” Dutil repeatedly told those in attendance, “We would be happy with just $20. For the Co-op, that’s a lot of money.”
Other presenters included groups from the John Molson School of Business, CUTV, and the R4 Free Dish Project. CUTV was also granted approval to ask students for an increase in its fee levy. They requested funding to help purchase a new camera, hire an intern and build a kitchen. The new camera, presenters said, would be used to film a series of videos on sustainability.
The Free Dish Project, which aims to reduce the use of disposable plates, cups, and cutlery by loaning its reusable dinner flatware, is looking to expand this year.
“We would like to double the usage rate,” presenter Ghanish Ghoorah said. The group is requesting $8,500 from the SAF to fund the purchase a dishwasher. This, he argued, would ensure the cleanliness of the dishes, as well as make it more efficient. The Dish Project said it would also like to increase its inventory, standardize the collections, and create an online database where customers could reserve stock.
The feedback forms the SAF collected from those in attendance will be considered when a committee of students and the SAF’s board of directors judge the merit of each of Friday’s presenters and render decisions.