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Student LEAF FAQ

  1. What is Student LEAF? 
    Student LEAF stands for Student Leadership for Environmental Action Funds. It is a committee of students who work together to better the university's social and natural environment through the funds we receive every semester. Many ideas we talk about come directly from you, the students of campus through our site in the form of proposals. If you feel your voice isn't being heard, submit a proposal and we will look into and do our best to resolve the issue, communicate it with Student Senate, or bring it up with other departments who may know how best to fix it. 

  2. What is sustainability? 
    The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 defines sustainability as "a means to creating and maintaining conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations"  (www.epa.gov/sustainability). Here we consider environmental, social, and economic equity for the betterment of our community. Sustainability aims to ensure the productive use of resources, without compromising the success of future generations. Sustainability at the University of Northern Colorado involves the empowerment of students through collaborative efforts in promoting resource efficiency in addition to other sustainable initiatives.  

  3. How do I submit a proposal?
    On the LEAF website, under our logo and "Come Join Us!", there will be a button that redirects you to a Qualtrics survey to submit your proposal idea. There will also be a link in the survey that directs you to a document that shows how we rate incoming proposals. Please read and understand this document before submitting your proposal. 
  4. Why aren’t there solar panels on every roof? 
    This is one of three of our biggest questions we get every year. There are two main problems. First, infrastructure costs, for example, our solar array on Parsons Hall cost $500,000. While we at Student LEAF would love to fund solar panels for the whole campus, that is outside our realm of budget sadly. Even installing solar panels on one building's roof would use up our entire budget. We feel we can have a better ROI and ROE if we dedicate that funding to smaller, more effective projects. Secondly, UNC has agreements and policies in place which limit options for alternative energy on certain parts of campus due to contracting issues. Having said this, UNC is actively pursuing solar options. 

  5. Why aren't we composting?  
    This is another of the three biggest questions we get. Our main issue, if we were to compost on campus, we would need someone to work as our composting manager. This person would collect the organic waste, move it to the compost pile, and make sure it composts properly. One issue with this idea for Student LEAF is we cannot fund ongoing operating expenses. The university would have to pay the compost manager. On top of this,  composting is a very regulated activity including lots of licensing, permitting, and certificates. Finally, we thought about reaching out to a local company to have them pick up our organic waste on a regular basis, but they were unable to handle the amount of waste we were producing. (Sent one to Olivia-someone. We can update that once we figure it out)

  6. Why do the sprinklers spray the sidewalk? It's a waste of water! 
    This is the third of our most frequently asked questions, and for this we spoke with Sarah Boyd, Manager of Landscape and Grounds. The University of Northern Colorado has over 254 acres of maintained campus area.  Much of that irrigation system dates back to the original campus construction and did not consider the well-established water conservation practices of today. Several of the sidewalks on campus were constructed post irrigation installation and were based on pedestrian movements throughout campus rather than  common water conservation practices.  This combined with the need to utilize large volume irrigation heads that can cover large areas make it nearly impossible to water the campus without impacting walkways.  If those same areas were redesigned today, we would likely see minimal hardscape overthrow.  Despite this, UNC strives to keep conservation a priority.  West campus is largely watered via non potable water sources reducing the amount of treated water that is needed, Student Leaf has helped to fund an irrigation control system that allows for flow managed water programming as well as seasonal adjustment of water usage and the capacity to flow manage the system.  It is our hope that we will eventually be able to reduce hardscape overthrow through irrigation replacements and campus renovations.

  7. I saw a dripping faucet, or a flickering light, or a similar problem that needs to be addressed, who do I tell?
    You can make a facilities request at the below link for any problems. Under the "Facility" drop down menu, most of our buildings are under "State", or if the problem is outside you can select "All Campus".   
    Link to facilities request: https://fmservicedesk.unco.edu/

    You can also contact the Building Supervisor for the building by finding their contact information on this list:   https://www.unco.edu/facilities/pdf/Building-Coordinator-Contact-List-7-2021.pdf  

  8. Will LEAF fund my club event? 
    If the event is directly related to sustainability, we would consider funding a part of your event.

  9. How can I participate in Student LEAF without being a committee member?
    First and foremost, everyone is participating in Student LEAF simply by being a student.  The weekly meetings are open to the public, so regardless of committee position or lack thereof, you are encouraged to join and discuss campus wide sustainable developments. If you have interest in coming to a meeting, our meeting time and place is located on the main page of our BearCave page as well as our unco.edu/leaf page. Most importantly, students are encouraged to submit project proposals! We want to hear from students on campus that are passionate about sustainable development and improving the visibility of sustainable initiatives in our community. Finally, students can show support for Student LEAF by utilizing the different projects we have implemented across campus; so, fill up your reusable bottles, and recycle at any of the various locations across campus. 

    Essentially, students can participate in Student LEAF without being a committee member by: submitting project proposals, attending weekly meetings, and contributing with an open and equitable mindset.

  10. Where does funding come from? 
    Student LEAF funds sustainable projects and developments across campus through each student's bill. Every student is assigned a $10.00 fee to their Student Bill prior to the beginning of each semester. These funds go towards project development as well as promotional items and events.