By Chris Siracusa, Sustainability Resource Center
For less than $1,000, the College of Law Green Team piloted a winter clean air competition and a Greek house purchased occupancy sensors and established curbside recycling.
These are just two of the five micro grants awarded during the 2014-2015 school year by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF). Micro-grant submissions request less than $1,000 each. This year’s projects, which were awarded a total of $2,945, covered a number of categories ranging from student outreach to energy efficiency enhancements.
2014-2015 SCIF MICRO GRANTS
Implementation of Sustainable Practices on Greek Row
Grant amount: $995
Project executive Ben Berger is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at the University of Utah; the goal of this project was to increase the overall sustainability of the Sigma Chi Greek house. The SCIF grant was largely spent on 19 occupancy sensors. The installation of these sensors means that light switches cannot be left on for long periods of time, thus reducing the amount of energy consumed by the house. The rest of the funding went toward five 45-gallon recycling bins to be placed inside the house and one year of curbside recycling pickup. After the pilot year, the cost of recycling will be picked up by house fees.
Environmental Beliefs of Undergraduate Students Survey
Grant amount: $150
This survey was conducted by Xiaorui Huang, a graduate student in the Sociology department. Huang plans to use the survey to gain a better understanding of the environmental beliefs of the undergraduate student population using the New Biological Paradigm scale, which was developed by environmental sociologist Riley Dunlap and his colleagues. Huang hopes to identify any correlation that may exist between environmental beliefs and academic major, academic exposure to environmental issues, political orientation, socio-economic class status, and membership in environmental groups. This data, when available, will be helpful for sustainability groups on campus to make more informed decisions regarding communication techniques with the student body.
Real Food Challenge Retreat
Grant amount: $300
In February, U President David Pershing signed the Real Food Challenge, which committed the University to achieving a goal of purchasing 20 percent real food by 2020, Erin Olschewski, one of the student leaders on the project, was instrumental to this process. SCIF granted Olschewski $300 to fund her trip to the Real Food Challenge Retreat, which was held in Seattle from Feb. 13–16. By attending this retreat, Erin was able to return to the U with valuable information about how to better implement food working groups, food surveys, real food calculators, real food policy, and a real food action plan, all of which are goals of the Real Food student group. After returning from the retreat, Olschewski was able to meet with the rest of the members of the Real Food student group to share her new knowledge, which was and continues to be valuable in the University’s commitment to achieve 20 percent real food by 2020.
1st Annual U Law Winter Clean Air Competition
Grant amount: $1,000
The College of Law Green Team launched a winter air quality competition, with the goal of raising awareness and changing commuter behavior to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, conserve energy, and save money by using public as well as alternative transportation methods. The idea was based on the Utah Department of Transportation’s summer Clear the Air Challenge. The Green Team asked people associated with the College of Law to team up with other students, faculty, staff, and friends for the month of February and log trips made without the use of a car for a chance to win prizes and to increase education about alternative methods of transportation. Reports from the pilot project will highlight successes and lessons learned to potentially make the competition campus-wide next year.
Wild and Scenic Film Festival
Grant amount: $500
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, organized every year by the Sustainability Leadership Committee in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program, has received support from SCIF for the past couple of years. This year, the film festival was granted $500 to go towards the organization of the event. The film festival was open to members of the entire community and held at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The goal of this event is to reach out to the population of not only the University but also the surrounding communities to inform and educate community members about environmental issues. Along with informing and educating the community about environmental issues, the film festival also helps to raise scholarship funds for students who attend the Costa Rica Study Abroad.
SCIF is proud to support such a wide variety of projects and would like to thank all of the applicants this year. For more information about SCIF, please visit our website.
Chris Siracusa is a SCIF intern with the Sustainability Resource Center.