Green Fund Charter

Hey SPEAR-ites! See below for the official charter of the Green Fund. The Green Fund is an allotment of money that is used solely for the purpose of making Vanderbilt more sustainable.

Vanderbilt Green Fund Charter Proposal

The Vanderbilt Green Fund (VGF) will systematically reduce Vanderbilt’s greenhouse gas emissions by funding projects with both environmental and economic benefits, and engaging students, faculty, and administration in the process of transitioning to a clean and sustainable energy future.

II. Logistics:

The fund provides up-front capital to projects on campus that increase energy efficiency and sustainability efforts in the attempt to reduce energy consumption on campus. The fund is constantly revolving as it is used, earned back, and reinvested. The VGF Committee acknowledges that in many cases projects may reduce energy consumption but realize no economic savings due to increased energy costs. Vanderbilt Housing and Plant Operations will make an annual input of $75,000, as budgetary resources of Plant Operations and the Office of the Dean of Students allow. Additionally, the fund is open to any additional donations from administrative reallocations, student fees, university departments, grants, alumni, payroll deduction for employees, and the University endowment.

III. Eligible Projects:

Projects for the VGF should aim to accomplish at least one of the following:

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduce energy use
  • Install clean sources of energy
  • Reduce water use
  • Reduce sewage or pollutants
  • Spur behavioral change to reduce energy or material consumption through 
VGF Committee will give preference in funding projects that have both environmental and economic benefit to Vanderbilt University. 
IV. Committee Structure: 
The Vanderbilt Green Fund Committee will be comprised of six administrators, six students, and one faculty member. Together, they will come to make recommendations on viable projects for implementation. 
• Administrative representation on the Committee will include a representative from the Sustainability Office (Andrea George), Plant Operations (Mark Petty), Campus Energy Manager (Darren Bevill or Mitchaell Lampley), Director of Housing (Jim Kramka), and representatives from the Dean of Students (Jack Davis & Clayton Arrington). 
• Student representation on the Committee will include the President of VSG of their designee, the President of SPEAR or their designee, the President of the Alternative Energy Club or their designee, the VSG Environmental Affairs Co- Chair, and two students appointed by VSG through an application process. Vanderbilt Student Government will be responsible for selecting the student representation for the committee through an application process administered by VSG.

• Faculty representation on the Committee will be the presiding Chair of the VU Environmental Advisory.

• The Sustainability and Environmental Management Office will convene meetings and organize the activities of the board.

V. Decision-making Process:

The committee of thirteen members will take careful consideration of logistical and economic concerns for each project. Any student, faculty, or group associated with the university can propose a project by submitting it to the VGF Chair. The VGF committee will implement projects that gain consensus when funds are available and will meet at least once a semester regardless of current progress on projects, with additional meetings called as needed by the VGF Chair.

Proposed projects will be reviewed based on responses to seven factors:

  1. The Project Description: A basic description of the project that identifies 
preliminary material, location and informational requirements.
  2. The Project Goal: A statement of which principle of eligibility the project falls under and a description of how this project will meet that goal.
  3. The Environmental Impact: The projected impact the project will have on the university’s energy consumption, carbon footprint, and general sustainability.
  4. The Resource and Cost Savings: The projected annual resource, and therefore projected monetary savings of the project.
  5. The Cost: An anticipated budget of: construction costs, design costs, construction management costs (if applicable), demolition costs (if applicable), inspection fees and other extraneous costs.
  6. The Payback Period: The projected payback time based on the calculated savings.
  7. The Schedule: The projected schedule and timeline for design and implementation of project.

Whereas the purpose of the Vanderbilt Green Fund is to conserve utility expenditures, the fund shall incentivize this type of conservation. Each type of utility that can be conserved is quantifiable with a monetary value. If a project has measurable utility savings, 30% of that conservation’s monetary value every year is donated to the Vanderbilt Green Fund from Plant Operations or whatever other entity is experiencing utility savings. This action is to be taken annually after thorough measurement without regard to the size of the savings. Plant Operations, Green Fund organizers and the students who propose the projects will agree before implementation on how to establish the utility savings of each project to determine the 30% payback into the Fund.

Join the #Moneyshift Hangout with Bill McKibben and Billy Parish


On November 26 at 11:00 AM PST (1:00 PM CST / 2:00 PM EST), Bill McKibben from and Billy Parish form Mosaic will be talking about the transition from a fossil fueled economy to the sustainable economy of the future. The Google Hangout will be moderated by Green for All’s Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.

You can join the Hangout by following this link:

Reinvest Vanderbilt


SPEAR is proud to announce its partnership with Reinvest Vanderbilt, a coalition of student environmental groups advocating for divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in sustainable technologies. SPEAR allstars Skyler Hutto, Michael Diamond, and Katie Ullman are Reinvest Vanderbilt’s co-founders.

In a major victory for the movement, Vanderbilt Student Government has passed a resolution urging the University to take greater account of environmental sustainability in their investments, given the University’s commitment to “achieve the highest standards of sustainability through a process of environmental responsibility and accountability at every level of University activity.”

Following VSG’s monumental vote, the Hustler, Vandy’s student-run newspaper, published a reinvestment issue–every article in the opinion section (pages 4-5) was dedicated to the issue. 5 professors and 2 PhD candidates wrote to express their support.

Visit Reinvest Vanderbilt’s website for even more exciting updates and information!

Giving to the Green Fund

Alumni, family, and friends – it is now easier than ever to make a contribution to Vanderbilt’s Green Fund.  Each year, Vanderbilt students submit ideas for projects to make our campus more sustainable. The top submissions are then implemented with money from the Green Fund. Previous projects have included solar dok charging stations, the conversion of a Vandy Van to a hybrid, and a bicycle sharing program.

These and future sustainability projects are made possible by contributions to the Green Fund. It is now easy to designate your online contributions to Vanderbilt specifically for the Green Fund, and play an important role in making Vandy even more environmentally friendly.

To give to the Green Fund, please visit the following site:

We appreciate all that you do for Vanderbilt’s sustainable initiatives!

Cardboard Crew 2012!

SPEAR would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who came out to help with Cardboard Crew this year. We have just heard the final totals of how much was recycled, and we’re blown away. Cardboard Crew recycled 32.66 TONS of cardboard this year. That’s an 83% increase in recycling from last year! Great work, and let’s keep this up for years to come!!Image

Our Stance on the Coal Power Plant

SPEAR is an organization committed to promoting the most environmentally sustainable path for Vanderbilt. Currently, our university produces about 20% of its power and much of its heat from an on-campus coal and natural gas plant. In the short-term, SPEAR supports this source of electricity for our school. There are three central reasons for this choice.

Firstly, the alternative source of electrical power in Nashville is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). This source also burns coal and at a higher rate than the Vanderbilt plant. As such, advocating against on-campus coal usage cannot be productive.

Furthermore, the Vanderbilt plant is a co-generation plant. Not only does it also use natural gas and solar power, but it does so very efficiently. To ask for power from sites off our campus would increase the amount of coal being burned for the same amount of electrical power. The electricity would have to travel further, have to produce additional heat, and would lack the secondary benefits of on-campus production.

Finally, there are currently no viable alternatives to coal for Vanderbilt. Natural gas is unreliable in this part of the United States, and it has a highly variant cost. While in the long-term, we expect Vanderbilt to switch to 100% green power, those options are currently either too costly, bulky, or inconsistent.

There is no question that coal is a terrible resource for us to use, and SPEAR fully expects and encourages the Vanderbilt administration to eventually replace the coal portion of the co-generation plant with a more eco-friendly option. All of this, however, is a goal for the future. In the meantime, our co-generation plant it the most efficient way to provide back-up power to Vanderbilt and out Medical Center.  SPEAR feels it is more important to focus on sustainability initiatives on campus and push for greener energy from TVA.  TVA offers the option to buy less coal powered electricity, which Vanderbilt could purchase.  Right now that electricity is extremely expensive, but in the future it may be something to consider.

Water Bottle Awareness

On Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 members of SPEAR ventured out to library lawn and constructed a pyramid of water bottles.  They used 365 bottles to show how much plastic one would use if he or she bought one bottle a day for a year.  SPEAR hopes to display the pyramid in the Commons Center so stop by and check it out!ImageImage

If you had $75,000 how would you improve sustainability on campus?

This question seems like something you would see on a homework assignment for a sustainability class. Think about it. Are there any things you would change to help Vanderbilt become more environmentally friendly? If you can answer this question, then please share your ideas with us!

Last year Vandy SPEAR worked to establish a campus Green Fund. This is a fund which gives money to student projects that demonstrate they can improve campus energy usage, water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and any other things related to sustainability. If you would like to hear your voice heard, apply for the Green Fund!

For more information, visit:

Cardboard Crew Success!

It was the first day first day that the class of 2015 was on campus together as they all moved into their dorms on The Commons. It was our goal to collect and recycle all the discarded cardboard, plastic, and styrofoam from this busy day. This was an ambitious goal, but with 80+ volunteers it was an amazing success. With dedicated volunteers up early in the morning and working until move in was finished, we were able to recycle so much cardboard. It was a full day of work but everyone was excited and having fun working with friends. And even after that long day of recycling on The Commons, we came back together the next day and recycled during Main Campus move in as well. With so many volunteers and hard working individuals we managed to recycle a total of 17.84 tons of cardboard and 2 full moving trucks (26 feet long) of molded styrofoam and plastic!!! With such a great turn out, Cardboard Crew 2011 was able to recycle 4.5 tons more cardboard than last year which was our previous record. We would like to give a special thanks to all our volunteers and to SustainVU. Without all of you guys this would never have been possible. Thanks so much everyone and keep on recycling!

Amount of Cardboard Recycled per Year

  • 2007: 6.73 tons
  • 2008: 8.75 tons
  • 2009: 7.5 tons and 2 full moving trucks (26 foot) of molded Styrofoam
  • 2010: 13.22 tons and 2 full moving trucks (26 foot) of molded Styrofoam and plastic film recycling
  • 2011: 17.84 tons and 2 full moving trucks (26 foot) of molded Styrofoam and plastic film recycling

SPEAR would like to thank everyone who came and helped out. We hope to see you next year!

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