Save the environment—right here at Amherst. That effort got a boost this fall when Prince Albert Grimaldi ’81 of Monaco made a commitment to give $2 million to help cut greenhouse gas emissions on campus.
The Prince Albert II Foundation (PA2F) Green Revolving Fund will finance projects that reduce energy use in campus buildings and support the College’s larger goal of carbon neutrality through the application of renewable energy. Among other efforts, it will also support student-led climate-solution research and community engagement.
The goal is “to frame sustainability as a long-term investment,” says Prince Albert, whose gift is the single largest donation for any similar fund, according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
Here’s how the funding process will work: The College will identify an initial list of projects based on an energy audit conducted by an independent consultant. After that, any member of the campus community can submit a new energy-saving proposal to the GRF committee, made up of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
That committee will choose which projects to fund based on their projected energy and greenhouse gas reductions. Money saved or earned through the projects will replenish the GRF and finance future projects. The committee will also evaluate projects on their ability to engage students in meaningful ways. In fact, a portion of the GRF will be set aside for a “student innovation fund,” which will finance crowd-sourced ideas.
“Our students are critical stewards of the College as well as the environment,” says Laura Draucker, director of environmental sustainability. “The hope is that empowering them to think creatively and realistically about the future of sustainability at Amherst will result in out-of-the-box ideas that could be used beyond the confines of our campus.”