January 25, 2017

March 1 is deadline for Green Fund proposals

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Proposals are now being accepted for the newest funding cycle of Green Fund awards at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Applications are due by March 1 and the Green Fund Award recipients will be announced on April 21, the day before Earth Day 2017.

A $10 per-semester student Green Fee, adopted due to a student-led initiative in 2009, facilitates the grants. More than $2 million in Green Fund awards have supported 153 sustainability projects on the campus.

Proposals are welcome from SIU students, faculty or staff, working alone or in groups.

Projects should focus on advancing campus sustainability. Preference goes to proposals that incorporate educational, outreach and research components and to those that address the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, societal and economic concerns) in one or more of these areas: energy, water, waste, buildings, transportation, purchasing, grounds, food/dining, outreach, research and social equity. All funding requests should be approved by the campus units or departments they involve prior to receiving an award.

“The Green Fund allows students to actively engage in important research that finds sustainable solutions to issues that impact not only those at SIU, but potentially the lives of everyone on this planet,” Trevor Jones, a senior industrial design major from Effingham and Green Fund grant recipient, said. “It’s a great way for students to create a lasting impact that will benefit the lives of those yet to come, and its aim is toward solutions that we can all agree actually matter.”

Jones is working on a 3-D print recycling and self-manufacturing filament system project involving the purchase of a plastic granulation machine and filament-creation equipment to facilitate recycling of 3-D printing processes plastic waste on campus. The project received a $4,459 grant in April 2016.

This is the only time this calendar year that Green Fund monies will be awarded. The Sustainability Office is sponsoring a pair of workshops to provide information and assistance to those who are preparing applications. The workshops will take place in Rooms 752/754 at Morris Library at noon on Feb. 8 and at 5 p.m. on Feb. 13. Attendance is not required in order to apply for a grant.

Find the grant application and additional information at www.sustainability.siu.edu.

Award recipients are selected by the Sustainability Council, which is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff. All three of the current student members anticipate graduating this semester so student members are being sought to begin terms during the fall 2017 semester. Those interested in being part of the organization should contact Geory Kurtzhals, sustainability coordinator, greenfund@siu.edu or by 618/453-2846.

She said prospective members will be encouraged to attend some of the council’s monthly meetings this spring to learn more so they will be able to actively participate this fall and allow continuity of the council’s activities. The schedule and details can be found at www.sustainability.siu.edu/participate/sustainability-council.php.

Numerous other sustainability and “green” initiatives are happening at SIU this semester as well. The university will again be participating in the national RecycleMania competition and benchmarking event in February and March. SIU and other participating institutions of higher learning will report their recycling, composting and trash statistics for an eight-week period and then be ranked accordingly. SIU’s goal is to increase recycling and reduce waste.

SIU’s Sustainability Office is also continuing the Sustainability Fellows program, launched during the spring 2016 semester. This semester, Andrew Aaflaq and Elisa Sawa have joined Julia Sanabria and Jatoya Hale as participants in this unique, unpaid internship program. The fellows are able to work on sustainability projects of special interest to them as they enhance their professional skills and promote sustainability. The fellows have been involved already in a wide variety of projects involving outreach and education, ink and toner recycling and sharing, green tours, dining, and more. Learn more at www.sustainability.siu.edu/participate/sustainability-fellows.php