| 03.18.2018

Little steps to sustainable living – UI Sustainability Center announces grant recipients

One project plans to install a refillable water station in the Living and Learning Community, reducing the use of plastic water bottles. Another aims to expand the recycling infrastructure in the Kibbie Dome. A third project would replace light bulbs in the Reflections Gallery with LED bulbs and fund a permanent acrylic poster frame.

All have one common goal – increasing sustainability.

The University of Idaho Sustainability Center recently announced this year”s student-led grant recipients. The center allocated a total of $10,000 between the eight approved projects.

It”s an incredible opportunity for students to give back to campus and the community and to develop skills that will help them later on,” said Josie Greenwood, the projects coordinator at the center.

Stevie Steely, sustainability engagement coordinator at the center, said the grants will help UI move closer to becoming climate neutral by 2030, a goal laid out in the university”s Climate Action Plan. She said the grants focus on different issues areas, such as campus infrastructure, energy efficiency and transportation.

Although the center funded all eight projects that applied, Greenwood said there are a wide variety of projects in this year”s group.

The center awarded representatives from UI”s Eco-Ambassadors with $1,300 to fund sustainability surveys. Another project, headed by UI graduate student Elizabeth Kang, aims to decrease plastic water bottle use by installing a water bottle station in the Living and Learning Community.

The Soil Stewards also received more than $860 to install hoop houses, which will allow the club to extend their growing season, Greenwood said. The money will also go to a more permanent sign at the student farm.

While all of the projects have until April to be completed, one project, the Sustainability Film Festival, was on an accelerated timeline. With both organizers graduating this month, Steely said they had to organize the event by the end of the semester.

“They only had two months to put this whole thing together, but they are really doing a good job,” Steely said.

The project came to fruition Tuesday, when organizers hosted the 3-hour film festival at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre.

Greenwood said those who applied for grants attended an information forum and later attended a grant-writing workshop.

Then, Steely said the Sustainability Advisory Board selects which projects get funded.

Greenwood said she has been impressed by the students leading this year”s projects. Even though they might be at UI for only a few years, Greenwood said the students are interested in affecting campus and making a change.

Greenwood is no stranger to the grant program either. Greenwood received a grant a few years ago to move the student farm closer to campus to make it more accessible to students.

“At least for me, they have been the more meaningful learning experiences of being at the university,” Greenwood said.

Ryan Tarinelli can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter  @ryantarinelli

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