April 23, 2015

Ten projects receive Green Fund allocations

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Educational kiosks, a shoe care station and a mushroom growing workshop are among the projects that will receive Green Fund awards at Southern Illinois University Carbondale this spring. 

In all, $84,171 was approved for 10 new projects. The winning proposals were announced on campus during Earth Day festivities Wednesday, April 22. 

“This was the most competitive Green Fund round to date. We received 46 proposals this time. Nearly half of the proposals were submitted by students and it is so gratifying to see them taking advantage of this opportunity,” Kris Schachel, sustainability coordinator, said. 

The money comes from a $10 per-semester student Green Fee adopted as the result of a student-led initiative. Since its inception in 2009, the Green Fund has allocated $1.8 million for 133 projects, including the awards announced this week. Schachel said the committee members wish funds were available to support all of the proposals submitted but in light of the budgetary restraints, they are very discerning in making allocations. 

In addition, due to financial considerations, the committee has decided that instead of awarding green funds each semester, it will begin presenting the grants on an annual basis instead. This gives people plenty of time to prepare their very best proposals and the committee can then evaluate which ones best fit campus sustainability needs and goals. Plans call for giving awards out each year in the spring from now on. 

Sustainability projects receiving 2015 spring semester Green Fund grants, along with a brief description of each, include: 

  • Revamping the campus solar array utilization for research, education, outreach and energy production, $25,000. This is the initial phase of a comprehensive effort to improve the efficiency of the campus solar array, increasing its energy production and allowing better use for research, educational and outreach activities as well as implementing a monitoring system with results shown on a campus webpage.
  • Outreach and education coordinator for LOGIC (Local Organic Gardening Initiative of Carbondale) and the Center for Sustainable Farming, $18,992. This will fund a coordinator to organize volunteers with LOGIC, facilitating educational events and workdays to provide hands-on food-growing experience to student in all majors. The coordinator will connect students to the local farming community and enhance their learning about sustainable agriculture.
  • Touch of Nature Environmental Center graduate assistant, $14,000. To cover costs of hiring a graduate assistant to work with the center’s environmental education and support programs that benefit SIU, regional schools and the community.
  • Educational kiosks at Touch of Nature, $10,000. School of Architecture students will design and build the kiosks and the forestry and recreation departments at SIU will also be involved in this project to construct and create the kiosks that will anchor the trail system at the environmental center.
  • Touch of Nature student programming, $5,050. This will pay for free, weekly student-oriented environmental education programs including open paddling, trail days and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go,” during the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • New “porous pave” permeable paving tiles for the Agriculture Building green roof, $4,139. The project involves updating paving tiles on the roof’s walking paths in order to improve access and functionality.
  • IT Day, $3,800. Each year all of the SIU system campuses have an information technology event to share ideas and initiatives. This year more than 200 IT professionals along with faculty, staff, students, K-12 educators and community members with an interest in technology will attend the event on the SIU Carbondale campus. The grant will fund a large-group presentation by Richard Hodges, an expert “green IT” consultant.
  • Roman Room digital banner, $1,809. For a large screen television to be used to display digital banners promoting events so as to cut down on printing single-use paper or vinyl banners.
  • Saluki Shoe Care Station, $1,220. This will fund a shoe care station that will have applications as an educational tool, a “dress for success” enhancer and a possible student fundraiser while helping reduce the millions of shoes put into landfills each year by extending shoe life.
  • Shiitake mushroom-growing workshop, $160. Participants in this Craft Shop workshop will learn to grow shiitake mushrooms using SIU landscape waste and each will take home a mushroom log that will last three-eight years if properly cared for. 

For more information about SIU’s commitment to sustainability and green initiatives, visit www.sustainability.siu.edu