April 27, 2018

Green Fund Grants and Awards Presented at SIU’s 2018 Sustainability Celebration

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A dozen new “green” projects at Southern Illinois University Carbondale were awarded funding and a number of people who are working to make the campus more sustainable received recognition Friday at the big campus Sustainability Celebration.

The event, which wrapped up April’s Earth Month festivities, featured a number of presentations along with special displays and interactive activities at Morris Library.

Nearly $90,000 in grants presented

The Green Fund Committee received 29 different proposals for projects to enhance SIU sustainability. In all, more than $367,500 was requested. After careful review, the committee chose 12 projects as grant recipients; nine received the full amount of funding they sought while three were partially funded. Funding for the Green Fund grants comes from a $10-per-semester Green Fee, adopted in 2009 as the result of a student-led initiative.

Since that time, with the addition of the newly funded projects, 182 diverse projects have been funded to the tune of about $2.2 million.

Bike lanes, eco-recreation and other projects planned

The 2018 Green Fund winning proposals are quite diverse, from creating bike lanes to continuing an eco-recreation program on Campus Lake, from revitalizing a rain garden to developing a land management plan for one of SIU’s premier natural sites.

Receiving grants this year are:

  • Sustainable Eco-Recreation – $30,388 for year 2 of a project to facilitate recreational activities for the enjoyment of users while enhancing the water quality of Campus Lake and the health of its aquatic ecosystem.
  • Developing a Land Management Plan for Touch of Nature Environmental Center – $20,000 (partial funding) for Phase II of a project to enable a graduate student to map all vegetation and recreational resources at the experiential learning center to enable further research.
  • High Tunnel Repair - $14,151 to replace the polyethylene film at the Student Sustainable Farm’s high tunnel, which will add thermal mass to allow the farm to produce all year. The grant also includes partial funding for a graduate student and fall/spring student workers for the farm.
  • Lincoln Drive Bike Lanes - $10,500 to create new bike lanes or shared lanes around campus.
  • Destined for Digital - $7,232.63 to partially fund a project to help the SIU Community Dental Center to purchase a digital sensor and portable x-ray unit so the facility can move toward a paperless operation.
  • Rain Garden Renewal - $1,500 for a student volunteer service day to revitalize a campus rain garden.
  • Wildlife and Pollinator Enhancement - $1,300 to partially fund the planting of native trees and shrubs to increase pollination success.
  • Occupancy Motion Sensing Lights in Engineering Computer Lab - $1,250 to replace the lighting in the lab with energy-saving motion lighting.
  • Parkinson Hall Room 202 Window Films - $1,000 to install window film in the room in order to reduce heat and save energy.
  • Promoting Paper and Printer Ink Waste Reduction in the Office Work Environment: $950 to implement electronic signature pads for academic advisers thereby reducing the use of paper.
  • Sustainable Coffee Sleeves - $828 for educational coffee sleeves to be used in the coffee shop at Morris Library to increase sustainability awareness.
  • Materials Reuse Library – $305.70 to create a reuse and recycle station in Quigley Hall.

Student sustainability recognition

The Sustainability Celebration featured remarks by Chancellor Carlo Montemagno; Lori Stettler, vice chancellor of Student Affairs; and Geory Kurtzhals, sustainability coordinator. They highlighted SIU’s commitment to sustainability and green initiatives historically, today and for the future.

Montemagno and the Sustainability Council presented special awards to the 2018 Environmental Ambassadors. SIU students who earned this award for donating at least 30 hours of community service to environment-related endeavors were:

  • Evelyn Aden – a master’s degree student in professional media and media management from Carbondale.
  • Ali Alruzuq – a master’s degree student in geography and environmental resources from Saudi Arabia.
  • Angelina Arcuri – a sophomore geography major from Carpentersville.
  • Makenna Baxter – a sophomore forestry-resource management major from Rutland.
  • Scott Deutsch – a sophomore geography major from Mount Prospect.
  • Cole Dugan – a sophomore communication design major from Franklin, Tenn.
  • Jesse Galaway – a senior mechanical engineering major from Monticello.
  • Samantha Griffin – a junior geography major from Chicago.
  • Alexis Johnson – a senior animal science major from Springfield, Tenn.
  • Courtney Nichols – a senior geography and environmental resources major from Portland, Mich.
  • Kaitlyn Novy, a sophomore biology-premedicine major from Elmhurst.
  • Luca Anna Palasti – a junior geography and environmental resources/economics major from Nyiregyháza, Hungary.
  • Kathryn Parrish – a junior geography and environmental resources major (hometown unavailable.)
  • Isabelle Rogers – a sophomore geography-environmental sustainability major from Arlington Heights.
  • Rachel Thomas – a junior interior design major from Bloomington.
  • Katelyn Toigo – a junior zoology/geography and environmental resources major from Grafton.
  • Breanna Whitley – a senior plant biology major from Pinckneyville.

Faculty and staff recognized as well

Kurtzhals also acknowledged several campus sustainability collaborators, including members of the Saluki Green Action Team Committee and Amber Billings, a Carbondale dental hygiene student and School of Allied Health student worker who initiated a process to divert plastic bags from the landfill. Ron Dunkel, Student Center Craft Shop coordinator, was also awarded Honorary Environmental Ambassador recognition for contributions to sustainability since his SIU career began in 1984.

Experiencing Sustainability

Following the ceremony, students, faculty, staff and community members got a chance to explore for themselves what’s happening to enhance sustainability and restore and preserve the environment both on campus and beyond. Displays highlighted various campus programs, offices and initiatives. Included were:

  • The Sustainability Office, offering information about campus opportunities and a new clothing swap initiative.
  • The environmental studies program, with a display regarding plastic bag usage.
  • A special showcase highlighting some of the previous projects that have received Green Fund monies.

Participants also participated in sustainability games and activities with the chance to win environmentally friendly prizes.