Via an e-mail from the NWF’s Campus Ecology program.
We are writing to ask for your help in reauthorizing the University Sustainability Program (USP) at the Department of Education. It is part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which is set to expire this coming August. This is the only federal sustainability education funding program in existence, and it is imperative that we keep it alive.
How you can help:
Endorsement is rather quick and easy to manage (no need to adapt letters or secure e-signatures). If you are willing to support this initiative, simply e-mail Jim Elder (Elder@FundEE.org), letting him know that he may add your president or CEO’s name, title and campus/organization name to the letter by May 30, or as soon as possible thereafter. Background on the USP:Part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which is set to expire in August 2013, the USP is the only federal sustainability education funding program. It has already generated over $4 million in grants for sustainability projects as part of the FY2010 Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education appropriation.
Why there is hope:
USP’s original House sponsor, Representative Earl Blumenauer, has agreed to make a push for funding the USP as part of the FY14 federal budget. Hearings are currently being held in Congress on the bill, according to Jim Elder, and Blumenauer says it is important get our position on record. Although the USP is vulnerable to being dropped out of the new reauthorization bill, there is reason for hope, if we act now and persist in the coming years.
Tools for action:
Jim Elder has drafted two letters of support– one for a FY14 appropriation and one for reauthorization– and will kindly organize the outreach to appropriate lawmaker through the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, collecting and forwarding the sign-on letter to Senators Harkin and Moran and Representatives Kingston and Rosa DeLauro on Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Committee of the House and Senate as well as to Senators Alexander and Harkin and Representatives Kline and Miller on, respectively, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committees.
We all worked hard to pass the USP five years ago. A time will come when we have a good shot at getting it more fully funded, Jim reminds us, and reauthorization is certainly easier than authorizing a new bill from scratch.