FinApp discusses updates on solar panels, SIPS fund
The meeting began with a short discussion about Healy Pub, and the nails that Jack DeGioia and Todd Olsen banged into its coffin in their meeting with student media earlier this month. Although GUSA had initially backed the Healy Pub idea, voting to allocate most of the $3.4 million endowment to its creation.
“I don’t think anyone thinks there’s a whole lot of life left in that proposal,” FinApp Chair Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) said of the plan.
With the impending failure of the Healy Pub idea, FinApp’s meeting primarily focused on following up on proposals for the endowment. The first group to present was Georgetown Energy, who spoke about their proposal to put solar panels on 43 of Georgetown’s University-owned townhouses. Originally, the SAFE commission voted to dedicate the portion of the endowment that was not allocated to Healy Pub—about $170,000—to this project.
At the meeting, a group of members of Georgetown Energy, including co-founders Peter Nulsen (COL ’12) and Anthony Conyers (COL ’12), and manager of the townhouse project David Nulsen (COL ’12) and whom Malkerson referred to as “The Solar Boys,” went in front of the FinApp committee to discuss the progress of their proposal since the spring. The group is in the process of soliciting a Request for Proposals from five vendors in the area to install and maintain the panels. The installation of these panels would, according to Peter Nulsen, bring in an $400,000 gross payback, all of which will go back to the Georgetown student body.
The group also pointed out that, if this proposal were passed, installation would begin during this coming summer, and that this would be the largest student-funded solar project in the world.
The group also delineated some of the challenges of their plan, including making sure the panels are not visible from the street. The group cited their willingness to work with neighbors, and their involvement with the installation of the first ever solar panels on the roof of a Georgetown home—that of Dr. Patrick Clawson—in October 2010.
The members of FinApp voiced few concerns about the project. Malkerson inquired about the stability of the companies operating the panels, and there was some small disagreement about the vote percentage that should be required for the money to be allocated.
The second group to discuss their proposal was the Social Innovation and Public Service Fund, which proposes allocating $1.25 million of the endowment to establishing a fund that supports service and innovation. The main point of contention with this proposal was with which group the money should be invested. SIPS committee member Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) explained that the money would either be left with the endowment, or invested with Georgetown University Student Investment Fund. Additionally, FinApp members voiced their concerns over the proposal’s lack of specificity about the companies in which SIPS would invest.
As a secondary reccomendation, the SIPS working group has until February to complete their proposal.