October 22, 2014

Sustainability Council awards ‘green’ project funds

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- A hydroponic workshop, a community-supported agriculture project, composting commodes and an alternative spring break service project are among the 13 “green” projects receiving funds from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Sustainability Council. 

The awards announcement came today (Oct. 22) during Campus Sustainability Day festivities. A total of $77,702 will support a wide variety of projects. This is the 11th set of grant awards since a student-led initiative created a $10 per-semester student green fee in 2009. Including these newest awards, 123 projects have received more than $1.6 million.

Projects receiving funding this fall, with a brief description of each, are: 

  •  Touch of Nature Environmental Center composting toilets: $26,470 to install six composting commodes at strategic locations throughout the camp. This will allow removal of portable toilets and educate the public about environmental responsibility. 
  • Development of on-campus Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA):  $15,000 to the Center of Sustainable Farming to expand the unified group’s work in sustainable farming and student involvement through development of CSA, increased student research, workshop coordination and other outreach efforts. The center includes the SIU Sustainable Farm, LOGIC (the student gardening registered student organization) and the Vermicomposting Center.
  • Alternative Spring Break: $13,960 for students to participate in an alcohol- and drug-free spring break program involving social service and/or environmental justice. The program will encourage students to “think globally” and “act locally” by working in one of several locations.
  • Digital paper to revolutionize scriptwriting:  $11,000 for 10 Sony digital paper devices for the theater department’s play-writing program. The change is expected to reduce paper use by approximately 47,000 pages annually. The technology will also be on public display during theater events to educate the community.
  • Student Center LED hallway signage:  $3,170 to purchase new energy-efficient LED hallway light box displays to replace existing fluorescent light boxes in the Student Center’s first-floor hallway.
  • Sustainable Saluki cycling assessment:  $2,300 to evaluate the SIU campus and facilities for bicycle-friendliness; results will be used to plan improvements to make SIU more sustainable and bicycle friendly.
  • Sustainability REACH Award:  $1,500 to fund a Research-Enriched Academic Challenge (REACH) program research and creative project by an undergraduate student or student team.
  • Student Center Ballroom spotlights:  $1300 to replace four ballroom spotlights with energy-efficient spotlights.
  • Bicycle Advocacy and ambassador project:  $1,059 for a project designed to create a safe, bicycle-friendly campus community by expanding a collaborative effort to provide safety, education and support, to expand the Saluki Spokes program and promote safe bicycle use.
  • Student Health Center restorative garden:  $610 to create a restorative garden featuring sustainable landscaping elements in a small outdoor area.
  • Gaia House registered student organization:  $550 to build a picnic table of recycled plastic deck boards to create a sustainable, welcoming place for members to gather. 
  • Solar air heater and tomato tub workshop:  $520 for the Student Center Craft Shop to hold hands-on workshops, each lasting four weeks, to introduce participants to ways of growing produce and collecting solar energy as they build the apparatus to do so.
  • Easy home hydroponic workshop:  $263 for the Craft Shop to host a workshop teaching participants to create a hydroponics garden using the Kratky method.  Participants will make their own gardens and be able to produce from them in about a month. 

Proposals for the next round of Green Fund awards will be due in mid-March 2015 with the announcement of winners scheduled for April 22, Earth Day.  Watch www.sustainability.siu.edu for more information.  

The Sustainability Council is also seeking an interested faculty member to fill a vacant faculty seat on the council.  For details, contact the Sustainability Office at 618/453-2846 or by email at sustainability@siu.edu.