CU’s Environmental Board continues to put the future of sustainability into the hands of students.
On the first Monday of every month, the board reviews student-proposed plans to make the campus and its surrounding areas more eco-friendly. Recent projects include the Farrand Hall Grab-n-Go filtered water station, the installation of solar panels on CU Biodiesel’s manufacturing trailer and the UMC paper towel reduction project.
Projects like these were proposed by students and funded by the Sustainable CU grants program, which lets students take initiative regarding their own ideas for promoting sustainability on campus.
Dave Newport, director of the Environmental Center, assists the Environmental Board in approving proposals.
“Each project has an individual amount of benefits for the campus,” Newport said. “The Sustainable CU grants allow for student creativity and innovation to be translated into action, which is key. The ability for ideas to become reality is what the grants do.”
The Green Roof Project, likely starting construction at the end of the semester, is one of the student-proposed concepts. The project, which aims to transform rooftops of campus buildings into gardens, received a grant of $100,000 from Sustainable CU. Projected benefits include air purification, improved solar efficiency and thermal insulation. You can check out Energy Renovation Center here to know more about solar panels.
Jon Hill, a 21-year-old junior environmental studies major, is the assistant project manager of CU’s Grab-n-Go eco2go pilot, a program that hopes to replace to-go boxes and water bottles with reusable containers.
The program was proposed in 2011, when Hill became an residential adviser in Williams Village and realized that the grab-n-go was the only one on campus still using plastic water bottles.
“The bottled water industry is so harmful to the environment and communities,” Hill said. “I believe that CU should have nothing to do with it. So with help from many awesome staff and students, we were able to do this pilot project to remove the bottles from the grab-and-go and educate students.”
A pilot project is a test of a program before it’s established on a widespread scale. Though not in full effect throughout the university, eco2go has been recognized by the Environmental Board, Sustainable CU and the Housing and Dining services.
The funding from Sustainable CU helps Hill and other students have their ideas implemented into the eco-friendly culture at CU.
“I’m spreading the word to even more students, doing my part,” Hill said. “Surely a few of those students will be inspired to take action later in their college careers as well. By getting this information out there, it’s encouraging a mindset that’s better for the environment.”
The support of the Environmental Board presents students with an opportunity to impact the CU community as a whole, for today and the future.
“By applying, students can make a difference for many generations of CU students,” said Natasha Goss, a 15-year-old junior chemistry major and CUSG Environmental Board chairwoman.
Goss said that students not only help make CU a more sustainable campus community, but they gain experience in the practice of grant writing.
“The ability to write a persuasive, focused grant is a valuable skill in the academic environment, and increasingly so in the business realm,” Goss said.
For the month of March, the Environmental Board is in the process of approving three small grants, each valued at a maximum of $2,500. Large grant application, for proposals over $2,500, are reviewed once a year in the fall.
More information and proposal requirements can be found at http://ecenter.colorado.edu/greening-cu/sustainable-cu.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Megan Moran at Megan.firstname.lastname@example.org.