Tucked between several fees students pay every semester lies the Student Sustainability Fund, a project dedicated to making the University's campus a more environmentally-friendly place.
The project began in 2016 when the student body voted to establish a fund to be used for projects related to campus sustainability. A designated committee reviews and votes on project ideas and proposals made by students, faculty and staff.
Proposals can be made online through the LSU Campus Sustainability website.
Though the fee is only $2 per semester, the fund is dedicated to making a big impact on campus, according to Campus Sustainability Assistant Director Sarah E. Temple.
“It has the capability to go a long way towards helping LSU become a greener and more sustainable University for students, visitors and stakeholders,” Temple said.
In 2019, approved projects included the installment of an electric vehicle charging station on campus, the creation of a butterfly and pollinator garden located in the Life Sciences Annex, the purchase of new bike racks for the School of Renewable Natural Resources and more.
Temple said she thinks the most influential project thus far has been the funds approved for the food composting project using black soldier flies. All food waste from campus dining halls is now composted using black soldier fly larvae. This creates fertilizer, which is then used on the grounds at the University.
“It is a wonderful example of partnership across multiple departments and units at LSU,” Temple said. “Campus Sustainability, Entomology, Dining and also Fluker Farms-- an outside business that has partnered with and supports the program. The project has the ability to expand even further to capture hopefully all food waste from LSU sporting events one day.”
The University's goal in its Sustainability Strategic Plan is to divert 75% of all waste from the landfill by 2030, according to Temple. The University feels that this could not be possible without a solution for food waste. Temple believes composting is the way to go.
Many students are not aware of the fund. Business administration junior Hannah Nguyen said she is surprised she knew nothing about the fund or its existence.
“It’s crazy to think about how many fees we pay when a lot of the time we don’t even know where our money is going,” Nguyen said. “But I like the idea of the Student Sustainability Fund. I’m glad our campus is making an effort to be more environmentally friendly.”
Mass communication junior Margaret O’Rourke said she likes that the project makes an impact with a low price to pay.
“Two dollars isn't too much to put on our fee bill,” O’Rourke said. “I think it’s something students can contribute a bit to to make somewhat of a difference in the way we treat our environment.”
Click here for a full list of approved projects funded by the Student Sustainability Fund.