Green Fund

Succulents on the Succulent Wall across from the Green Scene dining facility. The succulents were funded by the Green Fund to support student engagement and increase focus. Sept 26 2019. (Photos by Quinten Kessler)

NAU’s Green Fund is working on ways to provide solutions to the climate crisis through student-led sustainability projects. This comes after hundreds of Flagstaff residents and NAU students joined millions across the world to participate in the first ever Climate Strike on Sept. 20.

According to NAU’s student-led Green Fund website, since its inception in 2010, has taken steps to combat the climate crisis through many student-led sustainability projects throughout campus. These countless projects have led NAU to become a leader in sustainability efforts throughout northern Arizona.

Green Fund co-chair Anthony Mirabito said since its inception, the NAU Green Fund received its budget through charging a $5 tuition fee per semester for students and faculty.

Over 70 projects have been funded to cultivate environmentally sustainable installations around campus through this fee. However in Febuary, the Green Fund submitted a request to increase the Green Fund tuition fee from $5 to $15 per semester, starting fall 2019.

“Our vision for the upcoming year is dictated through the nature of the proposals we receive," Mirabito said. "A lot of the students that come in and want proposals is kind of how we shape our year.”

In order for the Green Fund to bring larger sustainability projects onto campus, a fee increase to $15 a semester was needed to help the Green Fund achieve projects that would not be possible without it. The fee increase was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in spring 2019 to help fund larger projects on campus.

The Green Fund has a plethora of ambiguous projects that it wants to accomplish with their expanded budget due to the increase in fees. Mirabito said one of those larger sustainability projects is composting.

"We at the Green Fund have a composting facility here on campus called Howard's Mesa and it takes about eight to nine months for the compost to fully cycle and be ready for use," Mirabito said. "So, we are trying to find ways to beef up the facility, because we want to fund a machine that processes the compost without using any water."

Saving Flagstaff's water is crucial as much of the city's water, as reported on the city's website, comes from springs at the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks and from Upper Lake Mary. Mirabito also said he wants to see Flagstaff partner with the Green Fund.

"We also would love to partner with the city of Flagstaff to accept a lot of their clippings and then selling the compost back to community members to create a closed loop and keep the composting facility running," Mirabito said.

The Green Fund's vision for the future is to not only work with the city in terms of composting, but also establish a connection with the community of Flagstaff.

"The whole point of it is to be a central place for everyone in Flagstaff to get compost and to also drop off compostable material," Mirabito said.

Sophomore Jady Kralovic supports the Green Fund's fee increase and its expected projects for the year.