Sustainability fund proposed


Hannah Renton

Photo illustration by Hannah Renton

Artie Bennett, News Editor

Loyola will “go green” with the proposal of the Green Fund, a student -funded investment allocated to sustainability efforts on campus, according to Tyler Sanchez, vice president for the student government association 

The fund, which is still in the beginning stages of development, would provide roughly $30,000 per semester towards campus sustainability efforts, Sanchez said. 

The fund was proposed in the past but never took off because of the university’s tumultuous financial standing and the pandemic, according to Robert Thomas, chair of the university sustainability committee. Loyola currently has no funds specifically allocated towards campus sustainability efforts, and the sustainability committee hopes the fund will enable broader environmental efforts on campus, Thomas said. 

“Right now, we have to beg for money,” Thomas said

The fund would be largely backed by students through a $10 optout charge on their semester bills, according to Oblena. While students wouldn’t be required to contribute to the fund, Oblena said she hopes students would support it. 

 Sanchez said that students will have a say in the spending of the fund, as they’re the largest donors towards it, though it will be primarily managed by the SGA sustainability committee and the university sustainability committee.

While the committees are still in the early planning stages, Stephanie Oblena, senator at large and chair of the SGA sustainability committee said she is excited to see the changes it will bring. 

“I want action on our campus,” Oblena said. “I want to be able to see sustainable change.” 

Currently, SGA is trying to gauge student interest in the fund through a survey. SGA needs 350 student responses and majority approval to move forward with developing the fund, according to Sanchez. After receiving student approval, the fund would become a question on the 2022 SGA ballot and move on to potentially receive university approval. If the fund receives student approval and faces no setbacks, it will be in place for the Fall 2023 semester, Thomas said.

“This’ll give us a nucleus so that when we want to get stuff done, we have the money to do it,” Thomas said. “A lot of good ideas come up,  and we can’t make moves on them because we have no funds whatsoever.”

Because the fund is still in the early stages of development, there are not yet specific projects in place for the allocations, according to Oblena. But Oblena said she hopes to use the fund to build more green architecture on campus, such as bioswales, which are strategically placed trenches with native wildlife to help prevent flooding. The first bioswale on campus is currently under construction outside of the Danna Center.

Thomas said he sees the fund as a step towards greater environmental efforts on campus and hopes to eventually see Loyola hire a sustainability coordinator, though he said students’ support will be the fund’s main support.. 

“The way you really get things like this to happen is to get students behind it,” Thomas said. “The students are what the whole university is about.”