Local environmental groups and researchers in need of sponsorship this quarter can apply for grants from the Associated Students Shoreline Preservation Fund (SPF) – as long as they can make the Thursday, Oct. 6 application deadline.
SPF funds projects throughout the regular school year that seek to protect the habitats along the shoreline of Santa Barbara, focusing in particular on the beaches adjacent to UCSB, said SPF Grants Manager Scott Bull. After grant bids are received, the seven SPF officers review the proposals and interview candidates at their weekly Monday night meetings before deciding to financially back a program, Bull said.
The group’s estimated $150,000-per-quarter budget for donations is paid for by an A.S. lock-in fee of $3 per student per quarter. Bull said he expects 15 to 25 applicants to ask for funds this fall, but, as in previous quarters, he said it is not likely that all who apply will receive money.
“There was a total of a quarter of a million dollars requested last quarter,” Bull said. “We have to deny a lot of groups that we’d really like to fund, but just don’t have the funding to do so.”
In the past, SPF has funded UCSB academic department projects that involve environmental research, as well as environmental groups such as the Santa Barbara Audubon Society and the Isla Vista Surfrider Foundation, Bull said. SPF also sponsors environmental courses on campus such as Environmental Science 129: Eco-psychology, said SPF Chair Jen Greeley, a third-year English major.
Greeley said projects are thoroughly reviewed by the SPF before being approved for funding because the organization wants to be careful with students’ money.
“[The project] has to be local, and we have to feel like it is going to stick,” Greeley said. “It’s amazing how many things we consider. I also always ask if there is a way for the students to be involved in the projects, helping out with the research or doing the testing.”
Besides doling out grants, the SPF hosts the Coastal Service Program, which pays UCSB clubs and groups $100 if they participate in beach or Isla Vista street cleanups, Bull said.
While Bull said cleanup programs are a particular favorite of his, Greeley said SPF should be more proactive in its approach to environmental preservation and not wait for other groups to come to them.
“I want to be more than a group of seven students who decides where the money goes,” Greeley said. “To me, that’s not enough. I want board members to get out there … to create projects. I think mostly we’re seen as just coordinating the clean-ups.”
Despite wanting to increase the group’s activity, Greeley and Bull said they were proud of the organization’s work.
“I really feel like what we’re doing makes a huge difference and that is very rewarding,” Bull said. “I think I have the best job out of everyone I know.”