Student Council Sustainability Committee receives $9,700 grant from Environmental Fund for LEED Green Associate Exams

The grant will subsidize test preparation materials, tutoring and exam fees for students taking the LEED Green Associate Exam

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The funds from the grant will be used to subsidize test preparation materials, tutoring and exam fees for students taking the LEED Green Associate Exam, a credential which denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction and operations. 

Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

Student Council’s Sustainability Committee received a nearly $10,000 grant earlier this month from the Equity and Environment Fund. Nina Morris, the sustainability outreach and engagement manager for the University’s Office for Sustainability, wrote in an email to The Cavalier Daily that the fund “is set up to support students/student groups for community-based initiatives or projects that sit at the intersection of equity, justice, and sustainability.” 

According to Student Council’s website, “the Sustainability Committee seeks to protect and improve the rights, opportunities, and quality of life for the community through environmental sustainability initiatives.” 

The funds from the grant will be used to subsidize test preparation materials, tutoring and exam fees for students taking the LEED Green Associate Exam, a credential which denotes basic knowledge of green design, construction and operations. 

Natalie LaRoe, a third-year Architecture student and vice chair of the Sustainability Committee, said that the program will be marketed toward students in the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering and the departments of global sustainability and environmental science in the College of Arts and Sciences. Becoming LEED GA-certified has tangible career benefits for students who go on to pursue careers in these fields, LaRoe said. These fields include urban planning, architecture and civil engineering. 

“The LEED Green Associate, coming out of college having that on your resume really gives you a huge boost with employers, which I've seen firsthand,” LaRoe said. “It gives a big edge to students who want to go into the green building or sustainability fields.”

LaRoe said that it costs $100 for students to register for the exam, and that the exam testing guide many students use to prepare and study for the exam costs another $100. 

“So if you're a student trying to take the exam, it's $200 out-of-pocket,” LaRoe said. 

Morris confirmed that the Equity and Environment Fund had provided $9,700 to the Student Council Sustainability Committee to assist with the cost of becoming LEED GA-certified.  

“The UVA LEED Green Associate Program will subsidize test preparation materials, tutoring, and exam fees for students to assist them in achieving a LEED Green Associate credential,” Morris wrote. 

The funds provided by the grant are sufficient to cover the full cost of preparing and registering for the exam for 50 people, LaRoe said.

“We have funds for 50 people to take it, so we can cover the cost 100 percent for 50 people,” LaRoe said. “We don't expect that [we] will get more applicants than that, because of the timing, and it being the first year that we're launching this program.”

LaRoe added that she plans to take exit surveys of program participants and make improvements to the program for future years in response to those comments.

“My plan right now is that we're going to apply for funds, if it's successful, through Student Council, and like incorporate it into our budget for Student Council Sustainability Committee,” LaRoe said. “Right now, we plan to do the program every year.” 

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