From rooftop wind turbines to expanded composting systems, 12 new eco-friendly projects will soon be underway on the campus funded by the university’s Campus Green Fund.
The University Sustainability Council and its Student Advisory Subcommittee doled out nearly $130,000 to the projects, pulling from the $215,000 pool generated by an $8 student fee that will increase to $12 over the next two years. The remaining $85,000 will likely be saved for next year’s fund, which could reach $300,000, Office of Sustainability Project Manager Mark Stewart said.
The council members selected the projects based on 14 criteria, including their connection to the campus, project creativity and how they would enhance the student experience.
“We had a good range of projects — some that really boosted sustainability from an educational and research perspective and some that really boosted sustainability in infrastructure changes,” Student Advisory Subcommittee Chairman Matthew Popkin said.
The largest grant, $32,950, was awarded to the Stamp Composting project, which aims to improve Stamp Student Union’s compost system and install new compost collection bins in the building with the goal of eventually making the building a zero-waste facility.
“Hopefully the funds are really going to enable the Stamp to really revitalize the way that their loading dock works so they can have more room for compost material and can also have more collection bins so that other people can compost within the Stamp,” said Dining Services Sustainability Coordinator Allison Lilly.
Currently, Stamp staff members only compost waste not generated by customers, such as material from the kitchens, and officials estimate 17,000 visitors come through the building every day.
“We do have so much foot traffic here, it just seemed to be a really great spot to pilot a program like this,” said Don Wray, Stamp assistant director for facilities.
“The most important part of the collaboration is student participation.”
The council also awarded $14,200 to the Eppley Wind Project to install two small wind turbines on the roof of Eppley Recreation Center.
A team from the university’s Gemstone program will receive $12,410 for an Aquaponics Research project, where members will build systems to house plants that grow in water and aquatic animals including tilapia.
And Stewart said this year’s projects are unique not only in their variety, but in the collaboration between student groups to develop them.
He noted the council even helped different groups that didn’t receive the grants to join in on the approved projects.
“We’re really excited about these projects and look forward to funding even more campus-changing projects in the future,” Stewart said.