Pizza Hut discovers taste for environment

10:30, January 17, 2011      

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The passion and interest shown by university students for environmental protection may never fade away, but lack of capital may hinder their development of green campaigns.

China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) offers a solution for creative pioneers to help them carry out environmental protection projects.

CEPF's fifth Pizza Hut small-fund subsidy program's second meeting was held in late November. Sixty projects from 522 applicants were finally approved and are now in line to receive about 490,000 yuan ($73,898 ) in grants.

The small-fund subsidy program was initiated in 2006 by CEPF. Yum! Brands Inc's Pizza Hut began to subsidize it in 2008. It aims to provide financial support for the best green projects dreamed up by students and is made up of two parts - providing small-fund subsidies to approved environmental protection projects and holding training exchanges between project leaders and related experts. This latter also began in 2008.

Zhang Rui, leader of the Environment Protection Association at China University of Mining and Technology, said that their project got the green light and a subsidy of 7,000 yuan.

"Since our project includes three investigation trips in the mining area of Xuzhou, Jiangsu province, and each time there will be about 20 members participating in the trips, the expenses for food and accommodation will be huge," Zhang said.

"The subsidy of 7,000 yuan brought us much relief and enabled us to proceed with our project," he added.

Initially, the students did not have much confidence in the small-fund subsidy program, said Li Wei, secretary-general of CEPF. "After a few years, the panel's active participation and professional advice propelled the program's development and our confidence grew a lot."

Shen Shen, a researcher at the Research Center for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise at Beijing Normal University, who also helped decide which projects won subsidies, said: "It's rare for Chinese university students'environment campaigns to last for a couple of years."

Most activities of this kind will just go on for one year or less and they will end immediately after they win prizes, Shen added.

Shen said a students' union in Africa had been operating a campaign combating AIDS for 18 successive years, something rarely seen in China.

"The China Environmental Protection Foundation realized this prevalent drawback and put great emphasis on the sustainability of projects of this kind as well as their originality," Shen said.

Long Qinggang, director of the project development office at CEPF, said the continual flow of students through university created difficulties in continuity.

He said he hoped this program could encourage more sustainable environmental protection projects among university students.

Source: China Daily
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