Published: Jan. 24, 2019 By

The Environmental Board, a joint board of CU Student Government, is responsible for allocating the student fees that become the Environmental Center’s yearly budget. The board is also responsible for distributing student fee funded Sustainable CU grants to projects aimed at advancing sustainability initiatives.

CU Student Government: How does it work?

As the most autonomous student government in the nation, CU’s student government (CUSG), allocates $24 million in student fees to improve the administration of student affairs. With executive, judicial, and legislative branches, CUSG operates similarly to our federal government. The executive branch is headed by three student-body presidents, or tri-execs, who oversee a team of aids, liaisons, chairs, and directors responsible for proposing and reviewing legislation related to their positions (ie. Diversity and Inclusion Chair, Sustainability Chair, Graduate Student Affairs Liaison, etc.) The judicial branch, known as The Appellate Court, is operated by seven justices appointed by the Executive branch and ratified by the Legislative Council. They work closely with elections to ensure transparency and legitimacy, and oversee the swearing in of newly elected student representatives. The legislative branch, known as legislative council, consists of Senators from each college, as well as Representatives for student cost centers such as the Environmental Center. They determine which student groups get funded, and propose and pass new legislation.

What are student cost centers?

A student cost center is a self-supporting entity that exists to supply goods or services to students, alumni, or faculty. In addition to funding student events directly overseen by student government such as homecoming, CUSG funds self-supporting services and cost centers such as the University Memorial Center (UMC), Recreational Center (Rec), Student Legal services, the Center for Community Involvement, Radio 1190, and the Environmental Center. Cost centers such as the UMC, the Rec, and the Environmental Center are appointed self-governing boards. These boards receive portions of student fees from CUSG to be allocated to their respective centers.

The Environmental Board: What do they do?

As the CUSG appointed board of the CU Environmental Center, the Environmental Board’s mission statement is to “work directly with students and administrators to catalyze change.” CUSG allocates just over one million dollars of its $24 million budget to the Environmental Center each year. The board is responsible for distributing these funds to provide over 150 student staff members, 15 professional faculty members, and a yearly budget for programs or events organized and overseen by faculty members. In addition to one CUSG legislative Environmental Board Representative and one CUSG executive Sustainability Chair, the Environmental Board is made up of seven student voting members, two community (non-student) voting members, non-voting permanent members (Environmental Center permanent staff), and an unlimited number of elected non-voting, or ex-officio members. The board is responsible for working closely with faculty to oversee the way the center is using CUSG funds, proposing new legislation, and managing the distribution of student fee funded Sustainable CU grants. The board meets weekly to vote on grant proposals, meet with Environmental Center directors, and discuss new legislation opportunities with the two CUSG representatives.

What is “Sustainable CU”?

In the spring of 2005, CU students voted to dedicate a portion of student fees to implement on-campus projects incorporating renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction, and other innovative projects to reduce campus impact on climate and environment. The allocation of these funds was tasked to the CUSG Environmental Board. Each year the board receives approximately $100 thousand for disbursement to grant applicants. Small grants, requesting $2,500 or less, have a rolling deadline and are accepted by the board regularly throughout each semester. Large grants are given deadlines early in each semester. The board has voted to fund projects such as last year’s implementation of an on-campus filament recycler for students 3D printing. The recycler allows students to reuse plastic ink, or “filament”, from failed products or prototypes instead of throwing excess amounts of plastic waste away. Larger projects funded by the board include the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the UMC and more efficient waste disposal systems at the Rec. Board meetings are open to the public, allowing non-voting members and any CU community members the chance to take part in discussions.

The CUSG Environmental Board meetings take place at the Environmental Center every Wednesday from 5:30-7pm during the Spring 2019 semester. All board meetings are public record and open to all to attend.