University of Vermont

Jeffords Hall

Day 3 @ AASHE 2012

by David Manago '13, Davis Center Eco-Rep

The third day of the conference may have offered the most progressive topics of the week. The first session of the morning was an overview of the Green Billion Challenge created by the Sustainable Endowment Institute. The workshop, run by three 20-somethings with a finance background, explained the benefits and logistics behind creating and maintaining a revolving sustainability endowment at your university.

They broke the pieces of the fund into very understandable parts that emphasized the investment aspects, rather than the expense aspects of the project. The most innovative part of their project was the Green Billion fund management software. This software offers a huge benefit to the university community and specifically for those who aren't in the environmental field. By showing the in-depth financials behind each green project, sustainability-minded people can show administrators the incentives of a green project and prove its feasibility with precise numbers.

I was enamored with what the Sustainable Endowment Institute has accomplished so far and I am excited to see how they've combined the two fields of finance and sustainability. The software that they have created is a powerful tool that enables sustainability departments to increase the degree that green projects can be measured. I was glad to see how the rest of the audience was pleased with their service. People were most impressed with such a low price for this service, offered online for the reasonable payment of .05% (1/20th of 1 percent) of the Sustainability fund (and no more than $2,500). Thank goodness for non-profits!