August 12, 2010

Student group gets grant to promote sustainability

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- A student engineering group will get $10,000 to help educate Southern Illinois University Carbondale students on sustainability issues.

The University’s Sustainability Council is awarding the grant to the SIUC Innovative Systems Conference, a student-run group that focuses on technology, business and science. The group, based in the College of Engineering, will receive the funding beginning this fall, using it to hone awareness of sustainability-based issues, organizers said.

The proposal, titled Sustainability Engagement Education and Discussions (SEED), is part of the group’s SIUIS conference. The conference, held in each of the last four years, is a three-day affair that plays host to leading lecturers in technology, including innovators in industry, business and science. The SEED program will include lectures, workshops, tutorials and projects that highlight sustainability concepts and encourage the SIUC community to pursue such endeavors, officials said.

“SEED is designed to be the sustainability track of SIUIS with the aim to host invigorating discussions in latest innovations on issues pertaining to sustainability,” said Ramanarayanan Viswanathan, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “SEED aims to increase the engagement of the SIUC community in sustainability-based issues by focusing on the engineering, science and business aspects of green fields.”

All told, the SIUC Sustainability Council awarded grants totaling more than $125,000 for the coming school year after receiving requests for almost five times that amount.

Morteza Daneshdoost, professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and adviser to SIUIS, credited students with the proposal’s success. Those students included Anil Mehta, a doctoral student in engineering and co-founder of SIUIS; as well as Mathew Jeffers, of Rochester, and Eric White, of Carbondale, both graduate students in mechanical engineering.

“These three students had a major role in conceiving the ideas and in writing the proposal,” said Daneshdoost, who also credited students Jerry Dover, a senior in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Ahmed Albanna, a doctoral student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, for helping critique the proposal.