NC State Sustainability Fund awards $161,000 in campus grants

Sustainability FundFifteen sustainability projects will be implemented on campus over the next year thanks to $161,000 in grants recently awarded by the student-led advisory board of NC State’s Sustainability Fund.

Generated by a $2 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 sustainability projects that improve campus or promote awareness.

“This Fund is for students who have big ideas and faculty and staff who want to give students awesome opportunities,” said student Brian Iezzi, who chairs the fund’s board. “Not only do this year’s projects have new ways to improve our physical campus environment, but we have projects that are focused on creating a social and political dialogue around sustainability. This is what the Fund strives to do, give students the opportunity to be inspired by both established change makers in sustainability and by the new innovators: each other.”

Selected from a pool of 24 applications totaling a request of $347,000 in funding, the 15 projects will be completed by July 1, 2017, and will specifically fund:

  • Support bringing the Nile Project to NC State in March 2017 in partnership with NC State LIVE. The Nile Project is an African collective of artistic ambassadors from 11 countries along the Nile River that address water conflict and associated social and political issues through musical collaboration and innovation.
  • Pilot project for “floating islands” in water basins on Main and Centennial Campuses that will aid in passive water treatment and stormwater management.
  • Composting of cotton and fabric waste from the College of Textiles.
  • Graduate student position to strengthen relationships and build sustainability programs that engage the campus community at NC State Athletics events
  • Installation of a solar bus stop outside Witherspoon Student Center that will allow students to charge electronics while waiting for alternative transportation.
  • Pilot study using electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs) in the Biotechnology program to reduce paper usage by 70 percent while also increasing student collaboration.
  • Two projects that will plant two pollinator-friendly landscaping beds at JC Raulston Arboretum and a pollinator-friendly meadow on Centennial Campus.
  • Collaboration with the second annual NC State Make-a-Thon, a design and innovation challenge focused on addressing campus sustainability issues.
  • Product development and testing of a student-created sensor that will be placed in campus waste and recycling dumpsters to monitor capacity and alert staff when emptying is needed.
  • A new Alternative Service Break (ASB) trip that involves student participants installing solar photovoltaic panels in underserved communities.
  • Collection and redistribution of unwanted furniture to students in the Pack Promise program.
  • Two performances by the Raleigh Civic Symphony and associated educational events focused on the celebration of nature and the National Parks Service.
  • Installation of water bottle refilling stations in Jordan Hall and D.H. Hill Library and a corresponding educational poster competition.
  • Purchase of food storage pans to support the new student-led Food Recovery Network on campus.

This year’s Fund awarded an additional $44,000 in grants than last year. The first grants were awarded in 2014 totaling $30,000.

“This year we funded more projects at a larger amount than the previous two years combined,” Iezzi said.

Approved with support from Student Government, the student fee that creates the Sustainability Fund was increased from $1.50 per semester to $2 per semester in 2016 and will rise to $2.25 per semester in 2017.

“Our main criteria for selecting projects is direct student impact because none of this would be possible without the amazing support from the student body,” Iezzi said.