Profiles in Sustainability: Dr. Robin Collins and Students: Helping to Make Champlain College Idle-Free with the Green Revolving Fund

by Elena Gorell ‘16 and Haley Parent ‘18

Christina Erickson, the Sustainability Director at Champlain College, initiated the Printcreation of the Green Revolving Fund, or GRF, in 2013. The goal of the GRF is to work in conjunction with Physical Plant to develop energy efficiency projects around Champlain’s campus in addition to implementing sustainability projects proposed by students and employees. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to use this fund to help the College achieve its goals for greener technologies and practices within it’s campus.

Through a written proposal, students, faculty and staff can request funding for sustainability related projects on campus. The GRF, made up of a committee of Champlain faculty, students, and staff, review the proposals and vote which ones should be funded by the GRF.

AntiIdlingWith the help of the GRF, Professor Robin Collins’s classes were successfully given funding for a campaign to minimize vehicle idling on the Champlain College Burlington campus. This service-learning project was designed and implemented by two different classes, Environmental Issues (ENP 100), and Environmental Earth Science (SCI150), over the course of two semesters in the 2014-2015 academic year.

After watching George Pakenham’s documentary Idle Threat: Man on Emission in Professor Collins’s spring 2013 Environmental Issues class, her students reacted by examining  their own community. Eight students wrote a proposal that would make the Burlington Champlain College campus idle-free. This proposal included minimizing faculty, staff, and student idling, as well as eliminating campus shuttle idling. As of May 2013, the City of Burlington passed a no idling law that prohibits motor vehicle idling for more than three minutes. The campaign for the policy on Champlain’s campus was therefore designed to create greater awareness of a pre-existing law. Professor Collins’s Environmental Earth Science class implemented the policy in the fall 2014 semester. The students designed posters and signs to minimize idling, and launched an educational campaign across campus and the City of Burlington. IMG_1033

The GRF is there to be used. The more people on the campus know about the GRF, the better it can assist with student, faculty, and staff ideas. Through classroom projects, students can become aware of the opportunities the fund gives them. The fund can also be used as a teaching tool and method to promote sustainability so that students and faculty can have a stronger connection to the Champlain College community.

Learn more about the Green Revolving Fund at

Read Champlain College’s Anti-Idling Policy, which is posted on the Champlain College Transportation website.