We Mean Green Fund Committee By-Laws

Mission Statement

The UNT We Mean Green Fund (WMGF) will provide funds for projects that increase the energy efficiency of our facilities, reduce the amount of waste created on campus, encourage sustainable behaviors, and integrate all three tenets of sustainability into the campus culture: environmental, social, and economic.

Guiding Principles

The WMGF is supported by student fees and is administered through a student majority committee. The Office of Sustainability will coordinate the implementation of all projects. The WMGF Committee reports directly to the UNT Sustainability Council, and is the primary, advisory body to determine project funding. 

1) Projects shall reduce UNT’s impact on the environment.

2) Projects shall have education and/or outreach components.

3) Projects shall have received all necessary written approval by appropriate campus officials prior to consideration.

4) UNT Students, Staff, and Faculty are permitted to propose projects. Project proposals will not be accepted from non-UNT individuals or organizations.

5) The UNT WMGF will not support projects that are already mandated by law or UNT policy/directive. The committee will only fund projects, which are not currently paid for by the university, or through existing rebate programs.

6) Projects that are able to repay the fund are required to do so. A percentage of the fund shall be used to create a revolving fund to generate revenue that will sustain the WMGF beyond the five-year period designated in Texas HB 3353.

7) Student participation is encouraged in all projects.

8) Projects shall positively impact social, environmental, and economic sustainability on campus and in the Denton community.

Article 1: Student Advisory Committee

Section 1.1: Powers and Voting

The WMGF Committee of UNT’s Sustainability Council is responsible for selecting and recommending projects to be funded by the UNT WMGF. A simple majority of the committee’s voting membership is required to approve proposals and submit a recommendation to the Sustainability Council.  The WMGF committee reports to the Sustainability Council.

Section 1.2: Duties of the We Mean Green Fund Committee

The WMGF Committee members shall review project applications and recommend allocation of funds to be approved by the Sustainability Council. Committee members may be required to contribute time outside of organized meetings to review committee materials. When a lack of proposals is present, the individual committee members may propose projects to be funded by the UNT WMGF, with approval by the Sustainability Council. Those individual members are then excluded from voting on matters regarding that specific proposal. 

Section 1.3: Member Representation

The WMGF Committee shall consist of five student members and three non-student members. Additional members may be added by recommendations from the committee to the Sustainability Council, when necessary.

Voting Members

1) One undergraduate student: Appointed by the Student Government Association.

2) Four undergraduate students: Chosen through an application process that is approved by the Sustainability Council.

3) One faculty member: Nominated and approved by the Sustainability Council. Members of the Sustainability Council are eligible to apply for this position.

4) One staff member: Nominated and approved by the Sustainability Council. Members of the Sustainability Council are eligible to apply for this position

Non-voting Members

1) One Office of Sustainability staff member: Will serve as the Project Coordinator for the WMGF, and paid from the fund

2) Other volunteers, attendees, or volunteers associated with the WMGF

The committee shall invite experts/guests to provide information and draw on campus expertise as needed.

Section 1.4: Officers of the Committee

The WMGF Committee shall have two officers: a) Chair, and b) Vice Chair. At the beginning of each term of office, the committee will accept nominations for Chair and Vice Chair. The committee shall select the officers by a simple majority vote. The Chair will act as liaison between the UNT Sustainability Council and the committee, and will preside at all meetings of the committee. The Chair shall also coordinate and approve meeting agendas. The Vice Chair will assist the Chair with his or her duties. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair shall assume all duties of the Chair. The Chair and Vice Chair may only be a student member of the Committee.

Section 1.5: Terms of Office

Each student member of the WMGF Committee will be appointed for two years and each non-student member will be appointed for one year. Faculty and staff terms will begin on January 1st and end on December 15th of the following year, and student terms will be the same, but in two-year increments. Faculty, staff and student members may serve successive terms, provided they reapply and are approved by the Sustainability Council. The Sustainability Council Chair must solicit nominations and appoint new Committee members by December 15th each year. The Chair and Vice Chair shall hold office for one year.

Section 1.6: Member Qualifications

All student members of the WMGF Committee must be registered (full or part-time) UNT students during their term/s of office. They must hold a 2.5 GPA or higher standing when applying for and participating in the position, and must attend all committee meetings. Staff and faculty members of the committee must be currently employed by UNT, and must also attend all of the committee meetings. All members of the committee must be in good standing with the university.

Section 1.7: Member Replacement

In the event of three or more repeated absences during a given semester, conflict of interest, or other appropriate reason, the WMGF Committee may remove the member by an absolute 2/3 - majority vote. In the event a committee member is removed or resigns, replacements may be made by recommending members to the Sustainability Council. The new committee member will serve the remainder of the original member’s term. 

Section 1.8: Conflict of Interest

The WMGF Committee shall conduct itself in such a way that its decisions avoid conflicts of interest, as well as any appearance of a conflict of interest. Full transparency and accountability will be expected in all decisions made by the committee.

Article 2: The UNT Green Fund Project Coordinator

Section 2.1: Duties of the Coordinator

The Director of the Office of Sustainability (non-voting member of the UNT Sustainability Council) will identify a member of the Office staff or other qualified UNT employee to support the work of the WMGF Committee as a Project Coordinator.

The function of the Project Coordinator is to:

1) Provide marketing support for the UNT WMGF.

2) Act as the lead in implementing and managing each project(s)

3) Must facilitate stakeholder(s) involvement in each project.

4) Maintain all accounting and budgetary documentation related to the We Mean Green Fund.

5) Prepare annual budgetary reports.

6) Maintain the archives of the committee.

7) Monitor the development of funded projects, through progress and other related reports submitted by WMGF project recipients.

8) Orient new committee members and undertake other duties as deemed appropriate by the Committee.

 

Article 3: Allocation of Funds and Project Selection

Section 3.1: Allocation of Funds

The WMGF Committee shall decide which projects to recommend to the Sustainability Council for funding by a simple majority vote of the full committee membership. The committee may elect to recommend partial funding for a proposed project. The Sustainability Council shall subsequently recommend all approved awards to the Project Coordinator for implementation. 

Section 3.2: Criteria for Proposed Projects

The WMGF Committee shall give preference and priority to project proposals that meet the following criteria:

1) Connection to Campus: Project directly addresses environmental sustainability on the University of North Texas campus in Denton, or in the capacity that on-campus activities directly influence environmental sustainability in the surrounding community.

2) Campus Affiliation: Project proposal is submitted by a UNT student, staff member, and/or faculty member on behalf of an individual or UNT program, organization, office, or department. Non-university affiliated individuals and organizations may not submit proposals.

3) Innovation: Project is innovative in nature and does not include routine maintenance or code-compliant activities. Fund may support the gap between code-compliant and more sustainable alternatives.

4) Feasibility and Institutional Support: Project is feasible and has support from appropriate campus individuals and entities. Individual students or student organizations must have the signature of a faculty or staff advisor who is committed to advising throughout project implementation.

5) Appropriateness of Schedule and Budget Request: Project must have a feasible timeline and budget that is clearly defined and is based on extensive research.

6) Cost/Benefit Analysis (as applicable): Project proposal outlines project payback, lifecycle costs, and savings, etc.

7) Environmental Benefits: Project demonstrates a reduction in UNT’s carbon footprint or provides other environmental benefits such as water conservation, storm water management, biodiversity conservation, waste minimization, etc.

8) Student Experience: Project includes opportunities for student involvement and/or will positively impact the student experience.

9) Outreach and Education: Project considers education and outreach opportunities and has included them as part of its implementation plan.

10) Accountability: Project includes a mechanism for evaluation and follow-up after funding has been dispersed. At a minimum, a project plan should include appropriate progress reports to the Committee based on the duration of the project and a final report within 60 days following completion of the project. These reports will be reviewed by the Project Coordinator and the Committee.

11) Metrics: Project has a clearly-defined, measureable outcome, backed by metrics for assessment.

12) Self Sufficiency: Preference will be given to projects that can obtain matching funds from sources beyond the UNT We Mean Green Fund or include a plan for sustained funding.

13) Potential for Broad Application: Project has potential to be scalable across campus.

Section 3.3: Funds

According to the House Bill, Number 3353, Section 54.5041, Funds may be used only to:

1) Provide environmental improvements at the institution through services related to recycling, energy efficiency and renewable energy, transportation, employment, product purchasing, planning and maintenance, or irrigation; or

2) Provide matching funds for grants to obtain environmental improvements described above

  • An institution that imposes the environmental service fee may not use the revenue generated by the fee to reduce or replace other money allocated by the institution for environmental projects.
  • The WMGF Committee may not recommend more than 100% of the funds to the Sustainability Council by the first meeting of the spring semester each year, as described in Article 3.1. Any funds not allocated in a given year shall remain in the UNT WMGF account for future use.
  • Funds allocated to a project that are not spent within the project time frame shall be returned to the UNT WMGF for reallocation.
  • UNT WMGF monies are not to be used or reallocated for purposes other than those described in this document.
  • The UNT WMGF shall continue to operate even after student fees are no longer collected into the fund, as long as sufficient money remains in the account.
  • The UNT WMGF may appropriate a percentage of monies to go into a revolving fund in order to sustain campus projects beyond the time that student fees are no longer collected. 

Article 4: Accountability, Records, and Reports 

Section 4.1: Student Sustainability Fund Accountability to Stakeholders

The WMGF Committee shall issue an annual report of its activities to the Sustainability Council, Office of Sustainability, and the Student Government Association. This report shall be posted on the campus sustainability Web site (www.sustainable.unt.edu).

Section 4.2: Accountability of Projects

All projects funded by the UNT WMGF shall submit a report to the Office of Sustainability Coordinator at the conclusion of their project or annually from the date of the project approval, if the project is funded for multiple years. The report must include a budget detailing the spending of all funds and how goals and milestones were achieved in the three tenets of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.

Upon review of progress or final project reports, the Coordinator shall evaluate whether the funds were spent within the scope of the project. If the Coordinator determines that the funds were spent outside of the project scope, the Coordinator may recommend to the Director of the Office of Sustainability and the Sustainability Council the return of any remaining funds to the UNT WMGF. The committee will evaluate the project status based on all available information and make recommendations to the Sustainability Council regarding the return of unused project funds.

Section 4.3: Records and Reporting

The WMGF Committee must retain:

1) Minutes of all meetings the committee conducts, which indicate the time and place of the meetings, the names of those present, and the proceedings thereof.

2) Adequate and correct records of the UNT WMGF account transactions, including records of business transactions and accounts of receipts, disbursements, gains, and losses.

3) Records of projects selected each year and the funds allocated to each.

4) Reports made to the UNT WMGF on completed projects and all annual reports received from projects with on-going benefits.

5) Copies of all annual reports which the UNT WMGF has issued to the Sustainability Council, Office of Sustainability, and the Student Government Association.

Article 5: Amendment of By-Laws

Modifications to the Committee By-Laws may be recommended to the Sustainability Council by a two-thirds (2/3) vote by the voting members of the committee. Recommended modifications must be consistent with the mission of the UNT We Mean Green Fund.