Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Mission Green, Mission Impossible

FAU’s two-year-old eco-friendly campaign, Mission Green, is facing a harsh reality:  budget cuts.

The Mission Green campaign is working to make FAU greener. However, rather than accomplishing their goals, they are often stuck in the planning stage because of university-wide budget cuts.
“We brainstorm a lot in our meetings, [but] it takes time and funding to implement [plans],” says campaign co-chair Azita Dashtaki, the assistant vice president of facilities planning.

Even though the campaign — which is made up of students, faculty and staff — began in late 2007, they still don’t officially have a budget.  Instead, the campaign has received donations in support of their mission.

The most effective donation was given by the FAU Foundation, a non-profit corporation. The foundation worked with the BigBelly Solar company, which donated eco-friendly trash bins. The bins use solar power to compact trash and recyclables. An additional set of the trash bins was purchased through the university’s plant, operations and maintenance budget.
“The BigBelly trash compactors are great,” Dashtaki says. “[They reduce] the amount of supplies and time it takes to collect trash, while using less space. We have prototypes here on the Boca campus and hope to expand to more campuses.”

Currently, the campaign receives funds through the Division of Facilities on campus. They have received approximately $13,000 in support of Mission Green’s initiatives since they’ve begun.
“Because of the cuts, it has affected our ability to have our own budget at this time. But in some aspects it can help us by getting the message of just conserving energy and saving stuff out to students,” Dashtaki explains. “It’s almost a positive twist to it all.”

At this time, there are no student fees that could support the campaign’s funding. However, during this semester’s Student Government election, the students were given a choice to vote for whether there should be a fee of 50 cents per credit hour to raise funds for renewable energy and going green efforts.
“Yeah, I want to be green,” says junior psychology major Carly Alter. “But I don’t want to be nickeled and dimed, either — because [the fee is] just going to increase
every semester.”

The campaign wants to create an eco-friendly culture that the entire FAU community is involved in. But that will take time to do, according to Dashtaki and co-chair Shannon Clounts, the interim director of the Office of Space Utilization and Analysis.

Currently, Mission Green is creating an action plan that, if put into effect, will set a date for FAU to really go green by conserving and reducing energy output by researching data they have already obtained. They also plan to find alternative energy sources to reduce FAU’s carbon production. The campaign hopes to achieve this by getting the community to participate.
“This plan will provide a road map for a more sustainable FAU,” says Clounts. “Achieving this will ensure a thriving community, promote a new way of thinking, and educate the leaders of tomorrow to face the challenges of global warming and vanishing resources.”

The campaign’s main goal is to raise awareness about the environment, which is an ongoing process. With the creation of seven sub-committees, they’ve been able to discover new opportunities to be more eco-friendly by putting innovative practices into place. Such practices include construction of the new “green” engineering building, posters to remind students to recycle and classes that relate to saving the environment.
“I think Mission Green is a really good idea,” admits junior education major Megan Jalm. “As time goes on, more people [will be] using more of our Earth’s natural resources that we don’t have much left of. So, the more we use green practices like reusing and recycling, the longer we can use these natural resources we have now. Funding shouldn’t be an issue.”

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