April 17, 2019

SIU Sustainability Celebration recognizes Green Fund grant recipients, Environmental Ambassadors and more

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — In conjunction with the worldwide Earth Day celebration the previous week, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is having a big Sustainability Celebration from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 30 at Morris Library. During the celebration, the spotlight turns to SIU’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and its many ongoing and new green initiatives.

Chancellor John M. Dunn will speak and make an exciting announcement. In addition, awards will be presented to the 2018-2019 Environmental Ambassadors. The chancellor and Sustainability Council give the awards annually to students who donate at least 30 hours of community service to environment-related causes.

The campus Sustainability Collaborators also will be recognized by Geory Kurtzhals, SIU’s sustainability coordinator. She will acknowledge the SIU faculty, staff, organizations and units that contribute toward making Saluki country an environmentally friendly place.

Green Fund grant winners announcement

In addition to recognizing sustainability contributions and accomplishments, there will be a big message affecting future “green” efforts at SIU. Winners of the 2019 Green Fund grants will be announced, giving those in attendance a sneak peek at the projects and activities that are planned at SIU in the year to come.

As the result of a student-led initiative, in 2009 the university adopted a student Green Fee of approximately $10 per semester, now a part of the General Student Fee. Since that time, more than $2.1 million has been awarded to a wide variety of sustainability projects, focusing on areas as diverse as renewable energy, transportation, food, waste, education and outreach and energy efficiency.

Each year numerous funding applications are submitted by students, faculty, staff and campus units/organizations. Preference is given to projects that involve students and those that are cross-campus collaborations.

The Sustainability Council, comprised of students, faculty and staff, carefully reviews all submissions and chooses the winners. The council is looking for members for the 2019-2020 year.  Applications are being accepted through April 22.

Celebration has several facets

After the grant winners are announced and awards presented in the John C. Guyon Auditorium, visitors will want to stop by the first-floor rotunda and check out the numerous displays, demonstrations and activities – each with a focus on various aspects of SIU and global sustainability.

Find ways to get involved

Visitors can also find out about the Saluki Green Action Team, the campus organization that’s committed to increasing awareness and making the community more sustainable. Check out a variety of interactive activities, demonstrations and informational displays and enjoy refreshments, too.

“The annual Sustainability Celebration is an opportunity for campus and community members to get connected with a growing group of sustainability advocates,” Kurtzhals said. “As we face the ongoing changes in our global climate, now is the time to get involved. We need every person to join us to help create a healthy future for us all.”