Projects Developed by Students, Faculty and Staff Focus on Community Engagement, Sustainability Education, and Mitigating NYU’s Environmental Impact
New York University’s Sustainability Task Force (STF) today announced its 2012 “Green Grant” (GG) recipients. Eight project submissions from NYU students, faculty, and staff were chosen from numerous detailed proposals, which were awarded $52,374 in grant monies. The GG funding goes to support innovative projects whose goal is to help the University reduce environmental impacts, engage the community, and advance applied research and educational goals. Over the four-year course of the GG program, the STF has awarded $392,983 to some 61 projects.
“The Green Grants are inherently democratic, allowing anyone at NYU a chance to transform our sustainability effort by proposing their project to a jury of staff, faculty, and student peers,” said Jeremy Friedman, NYU’s manager of Sustainability Initiatives. “The grants offer a structure to pilot new and experimental ways of solving sustainability-related problems, the most successful of which have been extended to the rest of campus.”
Each GG proposal was evaluated on its likely impact on the campus environmental footprint, its ability to be self-sustaining or institutionalized after initial funding, and its feasibility and potential for successful implementation.
This spring’s eight projects focus on waste and energy reduction, renewable energy and sustainable food systems, and community engagement and outreach. The projects are:
“NYU Existing Buildings LEED Feasibility and Opportunity Analysis,” an energy efficiency study for exiting NYU buildings. Faculty and graduate students from SCPS’s Shack Institute of Real Estate will seek to determine the most valuable upgrades for energy efficiency.
“The Bellflower Project” will showcase the potential of sustainable energy sources by engaging the public with a series of kinetic sculptures that resemble flowers and use solar power to biomimetically open and close their petals while also emanating melodies and chords that vary based on weather conditions.
Four of the projects combine a focus on community engagement with an emphasis on food systems, including: “Nutrition 101,” in which Steinhardt Food Studies students are instituting a series of free cooking demonstrations, lectures, and volunteer opportunities for the NYU and NYC community; seeking to combat the environmental impacts of factory-produced meat, “Climate Change: It’s What’s for Dinner,” will join students from the Wagner, Steinhardt Food Studies, and the NYU School of Law to create a web-based educational engagement campaign with live lectures and free meatless cooking demos throughout the semester; “The Student Food Co-op at NYU,” seeks to establish a student-run eatery that serves local, organic, sustainability-sourced and fairly-traded food at affordable prices; and, implementing the best practices for addressing food scraps in our waste stream, Wagner’s Environmental Policy & Action Club is installing a full-scale “Composting Collection at Wagner” for the school’s academic buildings and events.
Other projects include the creation of “Educational and Informational Sustainability Web Videos” documenting NYU’s sustainability initiatives, and “The Effect of Mental Construal on Behavior in Environmental Commons Dilemmas,” which looks to further research the associations between behavior in environmental commons dilemmas and an individuals’ conception of the self.
“The fall 2011 Green Grants demonstrate that NYU students, faculty, and staff are committed to continually improving NYU's approach to food consumption, purchasing, and disposal, alongside a spate of non-food related initiatives that maturely address some of the sustainability challenges facing NYU's urban campus,” said NYU Green Grants Coordinator David Seaward. “The GG committee chose projects that potentially have civic engagement and positive sustainable outcomes not just for NYU, but for the greater NYC community as well.”
The dates for the next round of GG proposals are Feb. 10, 2012 for the “expression of interest” (optional) and March 23, 2012 is the deadline for the full GG application. The award announcement will be in May 2012, and the projects can begin in either summer or fall of 2012. Please visit the GG website (www.nyu.edu/sustainability/greengrants) for more information on the application process.
The establishment of the NYU GG program in 2007-08, was part of NYU’s Green Action Plan, which was announced by Michael Alfano, NYU’s executive vice president, in October 2006, with the goal of reducing NYU’s impacts on the environment and saving energy. Over half (52%) of GG pilot projects have matured into institutionalized campus sustainability programs.
A sampling of successfully completed and institutionalized GGs include: the NYU Bike Share (free short-term bicycle rentals to NYU students, faculty, and staff); Two Birds, One Stone (a student-run initiative dedicated to feeding the hungry and homeless population in NYC while reducing the amount of food waste in NYU dining halls); Community Agriculture Club (focused on learning the theory and practice of urban agriculture); and Lighten Up & Go Green at Kimmel (implementing an LED lighting system for the Kimmel Center, serving space lighting needs while substantially reducing energy use).
“Two hallmarks of NYU’s Green Grants are rigorous measurement of project impact and institutionalization,” said Seaward. “The program requires and publicizes metrics to demonstrate a projects’ effectiveness, a rigorous aspect of the program that we believe has catalyzed its success in permanently implementing successful projects. NYU’s Green Grants program is clearly one of the most established, robust, and accessible programs in the nation.”
Seaward’s research, “Comparative Analysis of Campus Greening Grant Programs at U.S. Post-Secondary Institutions” can be found here (as a pdf) through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
For a complete list of the 2012 Green Grants, updates on last year’s completed projects, or for more information about the process for the next round of GG applications, please visit http://www.nyu.edu/sustainability/greengrants
NYU’s Sustainability Task Force is an advisory body composed of students, faculty, administrators, and staff, who develop recommendations for new policies and practices that advance NYU’s long-term future as a sustainable university. For more information on the Sustainability Task Force, go to http://www.nyu.edu/sustainability