Office of Sustainability

University of Mississippi

Meet the UM Green Fund Committee

Since its establishment in 2013, the UM Green Fund has awarded more than $45,000 to fund 19 sustainability projects on campus, ranging from the installation of 142 native plants on the UM campus to the creation of the UM Compost Program, which has diverted 77,000 pounds of campus food waste from the regional landfill. But did you know that before receiving funding, each project is carefully evaluated by a committee of students, faculty and staff?

The UM Green Fund Committee accepts project proposals at least once each academic year and assesses  them on impact, visibility on campus and feasibility of implementation. A wide range of campus entities are represented on the committee, from the Associated Student Body to Facilities Management. To learn more about the 2017 committee members, click on name below or scroll down to read member profiles. If you are interested in serving on the committee, e-mail green@olemiss.edu.

Student Representatives

Hannah Archer
Kelli Coleman
Bryce Johnson
Katherine Levingston
Natalie Minton

Faculty/Staff Representatives

Lindsey Abernathy (Sustainability)
Jason Hoeksema (Biology)
Shannon Richardson (Student Affairs)
Kathy Wachter (Business)
Lonnie Weaver (Facilities Management)

Hannah Archer
Student Representative

Hannah Archer

Freshman international studies/Chinese major from Chattanooga, Tennessee; Green Fund Committee member since fall 2016

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project? 

A: I really like the dorm recycling project because as college students it’s sometimes hard to remember to conserve and recycle. I think this project makes it a lot easier for students reduce the amount of waste they produce.

Q: Why did you want to be a member of the Green Fund Committee? 

A: I’ve always been passionate about sustainability, and I hope to somehow incorporate that passion in my future career. The Green Fund Committee is a great way for me to get involved on campus and with something I am care about.

Q: What is one area of sustainability in which you feel the university is doing a good job, and why? 

A: I’ve been really impressed with the amount of thought and effort the university has put into the hydration stations, and how much they encourage the use of reusable water bottles.

Q: Where would you like to see the university improve in terms of sustainability? 

A: I would really like to see something that conserves water use from both bathrooms and showers on campus. People, in general, waste an incredible amount of water from toilets and showers, so it would be nice to see an effort to curb that.

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you have implemented in your personal life of which you are proud? 

A: I have completely cut beef out of my diet, since raising cows is extremely detrimental to the environment. In fact, if you cut beef out of your diet, you will decrease your carbon footprint more than by cutting out a car. I want to increase that to red meat entirely, for similar reasons.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned since joining the Green Fund committee? 

A: I’ve learned a lot about the sustainability projects on campus. Before I joined, I really had no idea the scope of some them; it’s pretty impressive! I’m really glad that I am learning more about the university’s goals to make it greener.

Kelli Coleman
Student Representative  

Kelli Coleman

Senior biology major; Green Fund Committee member since spring 2016

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned since joining the Green Fund Committee?

A: Since joining the Green Fund committee, I’ve learned that almost every part of campus can become more sustainable in some way. There are hundreds of possible projects that the Green Fund could make happen! Anyone at the university can write a proposal for a project that they want to see implemented on campus.

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project and why?

A: My favorite Green Fund project is the compost program because it has been a well-established aspect of sustainability on campus for a few years. A lot of students know about the compost program due to sift-a-thons and social media. Also, teaching others about composting is a great way to bring awareness to sustainability initiatives at Ole Miss.

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A: About three years ago I decided to become a vegetarian in order to have a more sustainable diet. When I learned about all of the negative environmental impacts of the meat and fishing industries, I knew that I wanted to make a difference. Becoming a vegetarian was a pretty simple choice and I feel proud that I’ve been able to commit to my decision to help the environment.

Q: Where would you like to see the university improve in terms of sustainability?

A:  I’d like to see the university improve the amount of recycling bins available. I think there should be recycling bins for cans and plastics next to all the trash cans outside. Students are usually more likely to recycle when recycling bins are in convenient locations such as by a bench or on their way to class.

Q: What is one area of sustainability in which you feel the university is doing a good job and why? 

A: I think the university is doing a good job providing students with sustainable forms of transportation. Students can take the OUT bus to campus and locations throughout Oxford. This limits the amount of cars on campus and need for more parking lots. There are bike racks on campus and the Bike Shop helps students register and repair their bikes.

Bryce Johnson
Student Representative 

Bryce Johnson

Junior mechanical engineering major from Collierville, Tennessee; Green Fund Committee member since fall 2016

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A: My neighborhood does not have recycling, so my roommates and I bought three bins to organize our recyclable waste and drop it off at the recycling center.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned since joining the Green Fund Committee?

A: Opportunities for “sustainable living” are all around us

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project and why?

A: Implementing low-e film on the library’s windows was an easy, affordable way to reduce energy consumption. This improvement is just one example of simple, clever ways to save both energy and money.

Q: Where would you like to see the university improve in terms of sustainability?

A: Supporting healthy, locally sourced foods, reducing the amount of cars on the road, and making recycling more accessible.

Q: What is one area of sustainability in which you feel the university is doing a good job and why? 

A: [The] university has [made] wasteful consumption more transparent through gameday recycling and Grove clean-up.

Katherine Levingston
ASB Student Representative 

Katherine Levingston

Sophomore international studies major from Clarksdale, Mississippi; Green Fund Committee member since fall 2016

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project and why? 

A: My favorite Green Fund project is the Hydration Station Implementation* in the spring of 2012. It has had a lasting effect on the university. The hydration stations are used all the time, reducing the amount of plastic water bottles thrown away.

Q: What is one sustainable practice/project that you have implemented of which you are proud?

A: Right now, I am working on a lights out campaign to save energy in buildings around campus. The goal is to make sure all of the lights are turned out in rooms when no one is there.

Q: Where would you like to see the university improve in terms of sustainability? 

A: I would like to see more access to recycling at the university.

Q: Why did you want to be a member of the Green Fund Committee?

A: I want to successfully impact the university and reduce our carbon footprint. The Green Fund gives me the tools I need to do this.

Q: What is one area of sustainability in which you feel the university is doing a good job and why?

A: I feel that the university is very supportive of sustainable changes and will help in any way possible. This makes students and faculty more willing to initiate change.

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned since joining the Green Fund committee?

A: Since joining the Green Fund committee, I have learned about all of the opportunities to make the university more sustainable. I have also learned about all of the people who are passionate about making these changes.

*The Green Fund funded a portion of hydration stations on campus.

Natalie Minton
Student Representative 

Natalie Minton

Senior political science major from Terry, Mississippi; Green Fund member since spring 2016

Q: What is one thing you’ve learned since joining the Green Fund Committee?

A: One thing I have learned since joining the Green Fund committee is how much goes in to making one single change on the Ole Miss campus.

Q: What is one area of sustainability in which you feel the university is doing a good job and why? 

A: One area of sustainability in which I feel the university is doing a good job is the transportation system. The buses make a huge difference for sustainability and student life as I use the buses every day. I love the bus system!

Q: Where would you like to see the university improve in terms of sustainability?

A: The next step for campus-wide sustainability improvement is water waste reduction.

Q: Why did you want to be part of the Green Fund Committee?

A: I wanted to be a member of the Green Fund Committee to be a part of a diverse group of students who care about making an impact for the future sustainability of the Ole Miss campus.

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project and why?

A: Water bottle refill stations are my favorite Green Fund project because they efficient, reach everyone on campus, and make an enormous difference (at least in my life, anyway).

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A: I recycle all my plastics and have influenced my parents to collect their recyclable plastics so that I can recycle them.

Lindsey Abernathy
Committee Chair (Non-Voting Member) 

Lindsey Abernathy

Project Manager for UM Office of Sustainability; Green Fund Committee Member Since spring 2015

Q: Why do you think the Green Fund is important? 

A: The Green Fund allows UM community members the opportunity to make their sustainability projects a reality. For example, the UM Compost Program started as an idea that a couple of students had in 2013. Because the Green Fund supported those students, the composting project because a program within the Office of Sustainability and has now diverted thousands of pounds of campus food waste from the landfill!

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project? 

A: My favorite project is Lenoir Dining’s Green Restaurant Association certification efforts. This project involves so many students and has a huge educational component. I particularly like that Lenoir has started working with the UM Compost Program, another project that was made possible through the Green Fund. All of the students working in Lenoir will gain hands-on experience implementing composting in the kitchen.

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud? 

A: My husband and I share one vehicle, which encourages us to carpool with friends (out of necessity, sometimes) and organize our schedules so that we can ride together to and from work instead of taking separate cars. We have also started composting at our home recently!

Jason Hoeksema
Faculty Representative

Jason Hoeksema

Associate professor of biology

Q: Why do you think the Green Fund is important? 

A: The Green Fund is super important for planting the seed of sustainability innovation in our community! Each year, it makes a significant difference by catalyzing creative thinking and progress on sustainability on our campus.

Q: What is one of your favorite Green Fund projects?

A: One of my favorite Green Fund projects is the certification of [one of] the first Green Restaurant[s] in Mississippi, on our campus! This is so cool because it has the potential to influence many future generations of hospitality management students, making a continuing and lasting impact.

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A: I’m proud to be using native plants (purchased from Strawberry Plains Audubon Center) for landscaping around my house, which provides food for native insects and thus better supports native bird and wildlife populations.

Shannon Richardson
Student Affairs Representative 

Shannon Richardson (right) and her husband, Hunter, enjoying an Ole Miss football game.

Assistant Director of Campus Recreation for Ole Miss Outdoors; Green Fund Committee member since fall 2016

Q: Why do you think the Green Fund is important? 

A: The Green Fund is essential because it shows our community, state, and nation that the University of Mississippi is committed to sustainable practices, protecting our environment, and taking ownership for the responsible usage of our resources.  I also love that this fund was initiated by student environmentalists, which is indicative of the university’s continued practice of developing proactive and dedicated student leaders.

Q: What is your favorite Green Fund project? 

A: The Hydration Station Implementation* is my favorite project so far, because 1500 disposable plastic water bottles are consumed every second, and 80 percent of those end up in landfills where they can take up to 1000 years to decompose.  There is a hydration station in the Turner Center where my office is located, so I see first-hand what a positive impact this initiative has with sustainable practices.  Physical fitness requires tremendous hydration, so it’s a great spot for refilling your reusable bottle!

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud? 

A: In 2010, my husband and I began organizing Oxford WeeCycle, a seasonal children’s consignment sale that we hold twice a year for the Oxford and surrounding communities. One of the goals of WeeCycle is to be environmentally conscious and sustainable by providing parents with a venue to buy and sell gently pre-owned children’s clothing, shoes, furniture, gear, and toys.

*The Green Fund funded a portion of hydration stations on campus.

Kathy Wachter
Faculty Representative 

Kathy Wachter

Associate Professor of Marketing

Q: Why do you think the Green Fund is important? 

A: Given the issues of living on this planet and what will future generations have to face if we do not take care of the resources?  Even one person can make a difference.  Just picking up one piece of trash a day helps keep the health and welfare of the planet.  If you multiply that one person by hundreds a day–we would see even more vividly what a beautiful world that most (with their eyes glued to a screen) are totally oblivious to.

Q: What is one of your favorite Green Fund projects?

A: The projects that the GF has supported are various and varied.  Having farmer’s markets on campus as well as in the community introduce many students to where does my food actually come from, given most are only familiar with grocery stores.  Seeing things that you plant actually sprout and grow, there is no better feeling in the world.  The composting efforts and working with food services on campus to not only re-use a waste to benefit the biology of the soil, but to also share with the campus landscaping services and community at large.  And it is all natural!

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A:  A sustainable practice I began this year is to collect the batteries from technology in the School of Business which I will then take to the City of Oxford’s [hazardous waste] recycling day this April.  The response so far has been vary gratifying and I have quite a few coffee cans full.  One often sees these in parking lots and on the ground.  So I pick them up as well.

Lonnie Weaver
Facilities Management Representative 

Assistant Director, Facilities-Systems Technologies 

Q: Why do you think the Green Fund is important? 

A: The Green Fund is important because it opens up dialogue between the students, faculty and staff of the university in a way that is not simply about academics but rather about life lessons.  Anyone can offer a recommendation and real discussion takes place on if/how to implement the suggestion based on feasibility, cost, impact to the university, etc.  The students that take part in this process get a deeper understanding of the costs and labor associated to implement their ideas and how to sustain them for the future and they get the opportunity to see their work come to fruition.

Q: What is one of your favorite Green Fund projects?

A: My favorite project so far is the H2Otty Toddy Water Bottles.  I thought it was an excellent idea to move away from continually purchasing water bottles over and over again and simply use the same bottle throughout the day.  I thought the idea itself made great progress towards sustainability and it was witty in advertising.

Q: What is one sustainable practice that you’ve implemented in your personal life of which you are proud?

A:  Being an ‘engineer type’ our house uses all LED light bulbs and we have motion sensors on several of the lights so they turn off when not in use.