One of the primary qualities UNT is known for is the green all over campus. This extends to more than just festive shirts on Fridays, but the massive quantities of trees and even the presence of green energy initiatives. Another way UNT works to keep campus green is through the efforts of the We Mean Green Fund.
“The We Mean Green Fund empowers UNT students, faculty, and staff to improve our institution through campus projects that embody passion and spirit for environmental sustainability. The UNT community is full of ideas regarding how to make campus a greener place,” Project Coordinator Emily Bilcik said. “The We Mean Green Fund is a resource available to those who wish to initiate positive environmental change at UNT. Students, staff, and faculty can request funding from the student-majority WMGF Committee to kick start the environmental projects they want to help launch on campus. The great thing about this fund is that it empowers those who are passionate about being involved by allowing them to be project leaders.”
The We Mean Green Fund now has the capacity of a full time and student staff. They vote on and institute differing projects based on environmental sustainability and volunteerism. In the Spring of 2017, the WMGF Committee voted to enact a community garden which receives funding for future projects and allows students to be more openly involved.
“Our project leaders who receive funding make their projects happen by getting the UNT community involved in their proposed initiatives,” Bilcik said. “The fund is available to support all kinds of projects that have the goal of making UNT a more environmentally conscious institution. We’re here to help grow ideas and turn them into feasible campus projects that impact the student experience and improve our environmental imprint. This fund would not be possible without the UNT student body.”
These project leaders allow students to submit ideas which positively impact UNT and the surrounding community. The community garden is located off North Texas Blvd & Sycamore and offers sustainable and organic food growth, promotes environmentally conscious education, and nurtures a community of those focused on achieving a greener future. Students can work with the garden on planting and maintaining their resources directly.
“The garden benefits not only students, but also UNT staff and faculty. Students, staff, and faculty have the opportunity to join the garden as members and maintain a garden plot throughout the year (free of cost),” Bilcik said. “They learn how to grow the food they want, how to plant with pollinators in mind, and how to give back to the community with food donations. There is a friendly garden competition amongst plots to donate the most poundage of produce monthly to the UNT Food Pantry. Students who visit the food pantry have access to nutritional food options thanks to the many donors at the UNT Community Garden! Additionally, the garden provides a great sense of belonging for anyone wanting to find a supportive community to get involved with. Friendships blossom in the garden just as much as flowers do!”
There are a multitude of ways to get involved on campus, and if you’re a plant parent and want to meet fellow enthusiasts this is a great way to meet people with similar interests! If you want to learn more about the community garden you can learn more by visiting communitygarden.unt.edu to see their events calendar where you can attend for either educational, social, or volunteer reasons.
“Both the We Mean Green Fund and the UNT Community Garden can be a valuable part of life at UNT,” Bilcik said. “Both provide opportunities to embrace passions, interact with others who care about the environment, and develop leadership skills. These resources are free to students; students have the power to join in and make a difference at UNT!”
You can stay up to date about the community garden through social media by following @growmeangreen, or the We Mean Green Fund in general by following @UNTWMGF. If you’re looking for a fun organization to join or are interested in making a difference at UNT we urge you to look them up!