What is a Green Revolving Fund (GRF)
A GRF is a funding mechanism for sustainability projects. Applicants propose projects which make the campus more sustainable and save the institution money in some way. The savings borne of the project would then be reinserted into the Fund which would either grow in size or maintain itself. Typical projects funded by such mechanisms are ones which save energy – retrofitting light bulbs, insulating buildings, transitioning power grids, etc.
Does Concordia need a GRF?
This is the main question of our research. There are many factors which make a GRF unrealistic for Concordia, namely the fact that hydro is very inexpensive and we don’t actually pay for water. This may render any revolving funding model moot. On the other hand, there are always new and innovative ways of saving energy and, therefore, money, so current research is looking into projects other institutions have undertaken to see if they could apply to the Concordia context. From there, we need to find initial startup capital and create a mechanism for managing the fund.
The Connection to Divestment
Many institutions use money divested from the fossil fuel industry as the capital to start a Green Revolving fund. In recent years there has been an increase in the return on investment from this kind of change and we are currently compiling data on how realistic this would be for Concordia in connection to our Divestment campaign.
How you can get involved
Right now we are in the research phase in which we have a team of coordinators and interns compiling data and investigating potential project ideas for Concordia. If you have an idea or some information you think would be valuable, please get in touch! Likewise, if you would like to learn more and help out with research in a volunteer capacity, we would be happy to have you!
What is a Living Laboratory?
At Sustainable Concordia we know, first hand, how the power of passionate students with innovative ideas can have huge impacts on our campus. A Living Lab harnesses this passion and combines it with curriculum, research, and the administration’s to-do list to move Concordia towards being a more sustainable institution. Through this methodology, the campus acts as a laboratory for social innovation with the end result being a sustainable campus. Students pair up with faculty who supervise their work and are connected to key stakeholders within the institution to make their ideas a reality.
How would Concordia benefit from a living lab?
- Students: Bring the passion, innovation, and know-how to getting the project done. They gain valuable experience in the field they are studying and create healthy relationships with others who are interested in what they are studying. They receive credit for their work and add important data to the growing database of sustainable development.
- Faculty help supervise students and ensure the pedagogical aspects of the laboratory are up to rigorous standards. They may also use the campus for their own research with the help of student Research Assistants and/or community participation.
- Concordia Institution has two roles; client and facilitator (or “container builder”).
As client: Departments throughout the campus will need projects and innovative solutions to their sustainability problems. By connecting with students during the project proposal and development phase, we ensure their needs are met from the very beginning. This reduces time being wasted; as many students have experienced in the past, sometimes we get ready to implement a project only to be met with a list of demands from administrators that could have been addressed at the beginning had we known.
As facilitator: this person/office would act as a connector. They would provide the relationships, evaluative framework, and other crucial elements to getting the project done in a way that meets everyone’s standards and expectations.
Concordia is often highlighted as one of the most sustainable campuses in Montreal and we want to showcase it! Through blogs, vlogs, and podcasts, we hope to capture the incredible work that students, staff, and faculty do to contribute to sustainable communities. Do you have a penchant for content creation? Maybe you’re a brilliant writer, savvy video producer, or you’ve been told you have a perfect face for radio; whatever your desire, we need your help! Take a peek at our pitch list and/or bring your ideas to us and we’ll get you set up with what you need!
We believe that student associations should follow the lead of the university and develop sustainability policies relevant to their own context. This could include equitable hiring and human relations practices, inclusive outreach strategies, and/or sustainable purchasing guidelines (among others). These policies may look different for each association and we encourage you to get in touch with us to start the process!