March 24, 2010

Sustainability Council funds 17 projects

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Sustainability Council will fund 17 on-campus sustainability projects. The first round of awards totals $151,174.

The projects vary in scope and detail. Included are plans to diversify campus habitats, create outdoor learning locations, conduct a campus transportation survey, reduce energy and water use and create a solar water heater. Wind power, a campus sustainability intern program, analyzing dining hall food origins, collecting rainwater, creating a sustainable vegetable greenhouse and a teaching and research program are also on tap.

“I really am excited to see the truly diverse nature of the first round of projects funded by the Green Fund. It shows the creativity of our students, faculty and staff and the broad support for sustainability,” said Paul Restivo, chair of the SIUC Sustainability Council and director of the Center for Environmental Health and Safety.

Students at the University support the Green Fund through a $10 per semester fee implemented during the fall 2009 semester following a student-led initiative. The goal of the fee is to provide a regular income source for projects that promote energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and sustainability.

Here are the projects receiving funding this spring, including the amount of funding and a brief description:

• Diversifying SIUC Campus Habitats: $792 to expand the existing campus native prairie garden to enhance the University’s biodiversity.

• Interveg Weekly Vegetarian Dinner, Workshop and Forum: $500 for an ongoing program of local vegetarian food dinners, workshops and forums, increasing awareness and educating people about food issues.

• Gaia House Rainwater Collection Initiative: $170 to install a rain barrel to collect water for irrigating vegetables grown for the weekly Interveg Dinners.

• Variable Speed Drives for Chilled Water Pumps: $25,000 to add variable speed drives to the chilled water pump motors in several campus buildings to improve the flow rate and efficiency of chilled water.

• Greenhouse Assembly for Sustainable Vegetable Production: $31,520 for constructing a “hoop house,” similar to a greenhouse, to maximize vegetable production for use at Lentz Dining Hall.

• Campus Transportation Survey: $650 to survey students, faculty and staff and see how they commute to campus, where they come from and how to improve SIUC transportation systems to promote sustainability.

• Installation of an Outdoor Learning Green Space: $3,900 to construct an outdoor learning green space featuring edible plants and a place made of recycled materials.

• Green Meetings Initiative: $6,000 to enhance the ongoing University recycling and solid waste efforts by reducing waste from meetings and events at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center.

• Touch of Nature Energy and Water Conservation: $3,808.50 for installation of energy and water saving devices such as efficient light bulbs and low-flow showerheads at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

• SIUC Teaching and Research Forest -- A Demonstration of Sustainable Forest Stewardship: $8,000 to restore and enhance the University’s Teaching and Research Forest.

• Low-Cost Solar Water Heater: $3,300 for a student-led, applied course project to build a prototype low-cost solar water heater.

• SIUC Wind Power Project Phase II: $25,000 in support for the continuing effort to construct a wind turbine on campus including further assessment of the project and work on zoning and permitting issues.

• 40th Anniversary Celebration of Earth Day: $3,700 to support programming for the Student Center’s Earth Day activities.

• A Spatial Analysis of Dining Hall Food Item Origins: $6,138 for a student-led research project to evaluate the campus dining carbon footprint.

• Enhancing Community Policing Patrol Initiative: $5,838 to purchase an electric campus police patrol vehicle.

• Campus Sustainability Intern Program: $25,007 for programming coordination for Going Green LLC and an undergraduate intern program to provide undergraduates with hands-on experience with campus sustainability issues.

• Earth Month Film/Discussion Series: $1,850, for a student-organized project to kick off Earth Month with an environmental theme film series followed by discussions with local experts.

Three students, one faculty member and one staff member comprise the Sustainability Council’s Green Fund Committee. Chancellor Samuel Goldman appointed the Sustainability Council to provide advice and recommendations regarding environmental sustainability at SIUC.

For more information about the spring 2010 Green Fund projects, contact Ryan Klopf, a doctoral student in plant biology who serves as chair of the Green Fund Committee, at 618/453-3209 or by e-mail at

All SIUC students, registered student organizations, faculty, staff, offices and departments can apply for funding. The deadline for applications for summer and fall projects is March 31. The first round of funding awards uses about half of the funds currently on hand, Restivo said, with additional funding coming in each semester.

The emphasis is reducing the University’s impact on the environment or society in one or more of the following areas: energy, water, waste, buildings, purchasing, grounds, food and dining, social equity, academics and research, transportation and education and outreach. Preference goes to projects with significant student involvement or leadership, to those that can get matching funds, to those providing the biggest benefit to the University for the lowest cost, and those that involve multiple units and departments.

The Green Fund grant application details are online at For questions or to return applications, e-mail You may also contact Restivo for more information about this week’s funding awards or the upcoming project cycle at 618/453-7180 or by email at