Joe Indvik is a consultant and intrapreneur focused on finding cost-effective strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and scale clean energy. As an undergraduate and later independent consultant, he co-led a team to establish a $1 million green revolving fund at Dartmouth College. He is now a consultant in the Climate Change and Sustainability Division at ICF International. He happily does free-of-charge work with students to help them set up GRFs and other sustainability initiatives, so just ask! Stephanie Gardner and Bari Wien, members of the Dartmouth GRF proposal team, contributed to this post. You can contact the author at: email@example.com. Re-posted with permission from the Sustainable Endowment Institute's Billion Dollar Green Challenge blog.
Students can be a powerful driving force for campus sustainability. However, student initiatives are often plagued by barriers including funding shortages, resistance to institutional change, and the perception that sustainability is an expense rather than an investment.
A green revolving fund (GRF) is a great strategy to overcome these barriers, a case I made in a previous blog. The number of universities with a GRF has quadrupled since 2008, growing to at least 47 by the end of 2011 (and preliminary research shows the number has nearly doubled since). Most exciting of all, 17 of those funds were started by student entrepreneurs! And yet, while the GRF model is compelling, it is not a sure bet—for every success story there are also tales of failed proposals and fizzled ideas. The key is to learn from these efforts if we hope to accelerate growth in student-led GRFs in the next few years.