NC State Sustainability Fund awards $117,000 in campus grants

Among the projects receiving funding are a proposed solar pavilion similar to this illustration under which users could charge electronic devices.

Ten sustainability projects will become reality on campus thanks to $117,000 in sustainability grants recently awarded by the student-led advisory board of NC State’s Sustainability Fund.

Generated by a $1.50 per semester student fee that students voted to create in 2012, grant funding is available to NC State students, faculty and staff who submit proposals for projects that would improve campus sustainability.

“We have focused on selecting projects that will have the greatest student impact and will help shape the campus in years to come,” said student board member Brian Iezzi, who will chair the fund’s board next year.

Selected from a pool of 28 applications totaling a request of $470,000 in funding, the 10 projects will be completed by July 1, 2016, and will specifically fund:

  • Two projects to install additional solar trash compactors, which were first installed on campus as a pilot project funded from the inaugural round of Sustainability Fund grants. With this year’s funding, Students4Solar will install two more stations and University Recreation will install three stations. These compactors use solar energy to compress waste and reduce the frequency at which a trash receptacle must be emptied.
  • Performance of the Great Animal Orchestra Symphony during NC State’s Earth Month 2016. Funding will also bring the symphony’s creators to campus for a sustainability symposium.
  • Reconstruction of a garden bed and installation of signage at the student-led SOUL Garden on Centennial Campus.
  • Implementation of a “BioBlitz” project that will survey the diversity of campus wildlife.
  • Installation of an aquaponics system that will provide food for University Dining and local food banks. Located on an NC State farm off Lake Wheeler Road, the closed-loop system will grow salad greens and tomatoes while also raising tilapia.
  • Marketing materials and advertisements for the Campus Farmers Market, including funds for events and speakers.
  • Installation of a covered solar charging station near Tucker Hall that will provide students an outdoor pavilion to study and charge electronic devices.
  • Student internship at NC State’s Compost Training Facility, as well as supplies for composting workshops.
  • Student internship at NC State’s Agroecology Education Farm. The farm is also receiving funding for the purchase of additional supplies.

This year’s grants are nearly a fourfold increase in funding that was  awarded last year.

“This increase in funding has allowed us to look at projects that can provide a much bigger sustainable impact on campus,” Iezzi said.

Approved with support from Student Government, the student fee that creates the Sustainability Fund will be increased to $2 per semester in 2016 and $2.25 per semester in 2017.

“These increases will allow the Fund to enable innovative sustainability projects on campus for years to come,” Iezzi said. “We are very excited to see how this increase in funds can be used to advance sustainability awareness and initiatives.”