Bylaws

Bylaws for The Green Initiative Fund at Hunter College of the City University of New York

May 2015

 

MISSION  STATEMENT

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) aims to empower undergraduate students, and all members of the Hunter community, to actively participate in the effort to advance sustainability on campus. Through a Grant Making Committee with a student majority, TGIF aims to fund innovative projects that reduce Hunter College’s negative environmental impact, create environmental education opportunities, and/or empower students to implement solutions to environmental problems. Through these projects, TGIF aims to catalyze a shift in the culture at Hunter College, and foster a new and heightened sense of environmental awareness, responsibility, and capacity for action.

 

BACKGROUND

TGIF was established by student referendum during undergraduate student government elections in April 2010. TGIF at Hunter is based on a successful model for a recurring environmental project fund that has been established on campuses across the county. The referendum at Hunter reallocated $48,000 annually from the Student Activity Fee – $2.00 per full-time student per semester, and $0.80 per part-time student per semester – toward TGIF, in order to advance sustainability on campus. During student government elections, an overwhelming majority, 93.8% of students voted in favor of the referendum, establishing TGIF at Hunter College, effective Fall 2010. The initial bylaws for TGIF were drafted by Hunter Solar Project, the student organization that proposed the referendum, along with input from various stakeholders in the Hunter community.

 

ARTICLE 1 – GRANT MAKING COMMITTEE

Section 1.1 – Duties of the Grant Making Committee

The Grant Making Committee (GMC) has authority over TGIF and all of its functions. The duties of the Grant Making Committee are to promote TGIF and solicit proposals, review project applications, and to determine the allocation of funds to eligible projects. While project proposals may be distributed to GMC members via email in advance of meetings, each proposal must be discussed at an in-person meeting, prior to voting on the allocation of funds. Each committee member has an equal vote regarding the allocation of funds, and decisions made by a simple majority shall be implemented, unless otherwise specified in the TGIF bylaws or if such a decision is in violation of College or University policy.

Section 1.2Appointments

As per the referendum, the Chairperson of the Hunter College Sustainability Council (HCSC), the Director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (CISC), the Chair Person of Geography, Administrative/staff member from Geography, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President & Executive Board, and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) President appoint members to the Committee.

The referendum calls for the appointments to be made as follows:

– The Chairperson of Geography will appoint: 1 faculty member

– The Chairperson of HCSC shall appoint: 1 student; 1 ; 1 administration/facilities representative: 1 faculty/administrative representative

– The Director of CISC shall appoint: 1 non-faculty staff member of CISC

– The President of USG shall appoint: 1 USG E-Board or Senate member

– The Executive Board of USG shall appoint: 1 non-USG student

– The President of GSA shall appoint: 1 GSA Member

– The College Association will appoint: 1 Administrative/staff member

If the student organizations (USG and GSA) do not appoint student reps then the Chairperson of HCSC shall appoint a student representative.

If the appointee’s position with the appointing body ends prior to the end of their one year term with the GMC, the appointee can serve out the year, as long as they continue to act as a liaison to the appointing body.

Section 1.3Terms of Office

Appointments are to be made by appointing parties no later than Aug 1st for the following academic year, and are to be served from Aug 1st through June 30th of that respective year. A committee member may serve for longer than a year, though may be removed from the GMC by a unanimous vote made by the rest of the committee for failure to attend meetings, conflict of interest, or other appropriate reasons. If a committee member is removed or resigns the replacement would be decided and made by the original appointing body. The replacement committee member would serve on the GMC for the remainder of the year. Existing members can be reappointed by the original appointing body.

Section 1.4 – Committee Structure

The GMC will have one officer a Chair. The member appointed by CISC will be the GMC Chair, and this person will preside over and facilitate the meetings. In the absence of the Chair the Administrator will preside over the meeting and inform the chair of meeting outcomes. The TGIF Administrator will serve as the Secretary for the GMC. The Administrator/Secretary will be responsible for recording and archiving the meeting minutes.

A $300 stipend, per semester, will be earmarked for the four student members (two appointees from the USG, one from HCSC, and one from the GSA) of the committee. Under the supervision of the Grantmaking Committee Chairperson and the Grant Administrator, the student members of the committee will be responsible for 20 hours of outreach, per semester. In addition, the student members will be required to attend all the GMC meetings, and actively participate in document review in between meeting

Section 1.5 – Committee Meetings

The Committee will meet a minimum of twice per semester. The first meeting at the start of the semester will be an Executive Session to vote on funding projects. This meeting is closed therefore if committee members want to bring a non-member to the meeting they should email the committee in advance with their guest’s name and reason for attending. No alternates will be selected for committee positions. If a committee member in unable to attend an executive session they must submit their votes by proxy. In order for a vote to be passed there must be at least 7 voting members present. A second Executive Session will be called if all of the proposals are not voted on in the first meeting. The second meeting will be an Open Session held at the end of the semester to review student evaluations, lessons learned, next steps, etc.

 

ARTICLE 2 – CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Section 2.1 – Policy to Avoid Conflict of Interest

The GMC shall conduct itself in such a way that conflicts of interest are minimized and all potential conflicts of interest are made public. Committee members must make public all campus groups and organizations of which they are members. Where appropriate, Committee members should recuse themselves from voting on grant allocations for projects proposed by such groups. For such votes, the full Committee membership as defined for voting majority purposes shall be decreased to account for the Committee member’s recusal.

 

ARTICLE 3 – TGIF FACILITATOR

Section 3.1 – Duties of the TGIF Facilitator

The Grant Making Committee is responsible for evaluating proposed projects, and awarding grants; however administrative support is required to ensure TGIF’s ongoing success. The CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (CISC) will serve as TGIF facilitator, lending their expertise in sustainability and their organizational capacity to ensure the ongoing success of TGIF at Hunter. An overhead cost of up to 15% of the TGIF budget will be earmarked for the services of an Administrator to be recruited by CISC from the Hunter College student body. Unless otherwise specified, the responsibilities below may be dispersed among CISC’s staff per their Director’s discretion:

– Assist to convene the Grant Making Committee by securing a meeting space, preparing agendas, and coordinating meeting times with all members

– Act as a mediator between TGIF and Hunter College

– Website

– Build a webpage for TGIF which is accessible to students as well as the public

– Update the TGIF webpage with announcements, important documents, and an annual report

– Orient new GMC members

Section 3.2. – Duties of the TGIF Administrator

An overhead cost of up to 15% of the TGIF budget will be earmarked for the services of an Administrator to be recruited and hired by CISC. The administrator will work under the supervision of the Grantmaking Committee Chairperson and will serve as a voting member of the Grantmaking Committee. The TGIF Administrator will aid members of the GMC with all logistical and administrative work related to the initiation and continued implementation of the Fund. Responsibilities will include:

– Drafting and amending TGIF documents

– Keep a record of official TGIF documents and forms

– Scheduling Committee meetings and workshops

– Working with Hunter administration and grant awardees to complete necessary paperwork; and general outreach

– Plan and promote workshops to assist students developing project proposals

– Respond to inquiries regarding TGIF

– Draft request for proposals (RFP) to make available online, and support efforts to promote the funding opportunity using digital media

– Follow up on the status of projects once they are awarded funds

– Issue an annual report that includes descriptions of all projects awarded grants during the current year, as well as the status of projects funded during previous years. Reports must also provide a transparent budget that details the amount and purpose of collected, disbursed, and available funds.

 

ARTICLE 4 – PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

Section 4.1 – Purpose of Requirements

The purpose of the project requirements outlined below is to guarantee that TGIF only supports projects that are aligned with the mission of TGIF.

Section 4.2 – Project Requirements

The following requirements must be met by proposed projects in order to be eligible for funding from TGIF:

– Projects must reduce Hunter College’s negative environmental impact, create environmental education opportunities, and/or empower Hunter students to implement solutions to environmental challenges.

– Project applicant must be a Hunter College undergraduate student in good standing.

– All proposed projects must have a clearly defined, measurable outcome.

– All CUNY students, faculty, staff, as well as members of outside organizations may be included as project personnel.

– TGIF shall only fund projects that would not be otherwise funded, and are not required by College, University, or another policy mandate.

– Projects must be feasible. TGIF may fund feasibility studies, at the discretion of the Committee.

– All projects must make considerations for publicity, education, or outreach.

 

ARTICLE 5 – ALLOCATION OF FUNDS AND SELECTION PROCESS

Section 5.1 – Grant Making

The Grant Making Committee shall decide the allocation of funds to proposed projects by a simple majority vote of the full Committee membership. The Committee may elect to fund only a portion of a proposal. Proposals will be reviewed after the submittal deadline established by the GMC. Once the submittal deadline has passed, the GMC will:

1. Review proposals

2. Verify that projects meet TGIF project requirements

3. Discuss the merits of each project that meets TGIF’s requirements

4. Contact project applicants, or others with relevant knowledge, to answer the GMC’s questions regarding proposed projects, if desired.

5. Vote upon the allocation of funds toward various projects

6. Submit the GMC’s decisions to the College Association

7. Inform all applicants as to whether or not they are receiving an award for their proposed project and, if applicable, specify the awarded amount.

8. Work with awardees and follow the allowable use and process guidelines for spending the grant, as per the College Association guidelines.

Section 5.2 – Funding Requirements

Projects can be up to one year maximum in duration. All project funds awarded must be spent by the end of the fiscal year in which they were awarded. Unspent funds will be returned to the TGIF. If an awardee is unable to complete their project and would like to reapply for TGIF funds at a future date, they must submit a statement of justification explaining the reason the project was terminated and how they will avoid these issues in the future.

Section 5.3 – Unspent Funds

It is the intention of TGIF to disburse all funds collected to support environmental projects each year. However, in the event that funds are not spent the following rules shall apply:

– Funds allocated to a project that are not spent within the project timeframe shall be returned to TGIF for reallocation.

– Based on funding levels, the GMC reserves the right to reopen the application process at any point during the year.

– The applicant may reapply a phased proposal in order to extend the project.

Section 5.4 – Unspent Funds Usage

– TGIF Shall use funds not spent on grants to pay for the maintenance, repair, and supplies for projects funded by TGIF as well as those projects originally funded by Hunter Solar Project currently known as the Hunter Sustainability Project.

– TGIF does not assume full responsibility for all such costs but shall cover such costs as its budget allows in negotiation with Hunter facilities and other responsible departments.

 

ARTICLE 6 – ACCOUNTABILITY, RECORDS AND REPORTS

Section 6.1 – Transparency

The students of Hunter College fund TGIF, and as such, all financial records must be transparent, and easily accessible to the public and the student body. It is the responsibility of GMC members, the TGIF Facilitator, and the College Association to ensure that there is sufficient transparency. The primary mechanism for financial disclosure shall be TGIF’s annual report. The annual report shall include descriptions of all projects awarded grants during the current year, as well as the status of projects funded during previous years. The report must also provide a transparent budget that details the amount and purpose of collected, disbursed, and available funds.

Section 6.2 – Accountability of Projects

All projects funded by TGIF shall submit a brief report to the GMC at the conclusion of the project or annually from the date of the project approval. The report must include a budget detailing the spending of all funds.

Section 6.3 – Meeting Minutes and Accounting

TGIF must keep on record:

– Minutes of all meetings of the Grant Making Committee indicating the time and place of holding such meetings, the names of those present, and the proceedings thereof

– Adequate and correct books and records of account, including accounts of its properties and business transactions and accounts of its assets, receipts, disbursements, gains and losses

 

ARTICLE 7 – AMENDING BYLAWS

The Grant Making Committee may amend the Articles of TGIF prior to the announcement of each year’s funding cycle, provided that the amendments are consistent with the mission of TGIF and the original text of the referendum (provided in Appendix A). Amendments can be adopted via a seven-member majority vote, at a meeting where at least seven of the nine members are present.

 

APPENDIX A – TGIF REFERENDUM ORIGINAL TEXT

We, the undersigned, request that the following referendum be placed on the ballot in the upcoming Spring 2010 undergraduate student government elections.

I support establishing The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) at Hunter College to advance sustainability on campus, as follows: TGIF will fund innovative environmental projects proposed by members of the Hunter community through an annual or semi-annual request for proposals. A seven-member committee, with a student majority, will review proposals and award grants to projects that will reduce Hunter College’s negative environmental impact, create environmental education opportunities, and/or empower students to implement solutions to environmental problems.

TGIF committee members will include: a USG Executive Board Member or Senator nominated by the USG president, a GSA Commissioner nominated by the GSA president, a student nominated by the chair of the Hunter College Sustainability Council (HCSC), a student nominated by the USG executive board, a Faculty Member nominated by the  chair of HCSC, a Staff Member of CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities (non-faculty) nominated by their Director, and a representative from Hunter College

Facilities/Administration nominated by the chair of HCSC. If this referendum passes, Hunter Solar Project, the student organization proposing this referendum, will draft bylaws that outline how the fund will be administered in greater detail, and submit them to the College Association by June 30, 2010. The College Association will be the allocating body, and this reallocation will be effective Fall 2010.

TGIF will not raise the Student Activity Fee, but reallocate unused funds for environmental  sustainability:

Full-Time          Part-Time

The Shield                    -$2.00                -$0.80

     +$2.00               +$0.80

Total Increase:                $0.00