Projects Developed by Students, Faculty and Staff Reduce Environmental Impacts and Contribute to Public Engagement on Sustainability Issues

New York University’s Sustainability Task Force today announced its 2008 “Green Grants” recipients. The Task Force, now in its second year, received 57 detailed proposal submissions ultimately awarding $160,000 in grant monies to 23 projects, an increase of over 40% from last year. The projects will help the University reduce environmental impacts, engage the community, and advance applied research and educational goals.

“Based on the success of last year’s awards, we are excited to announce this year’s winners,” said Efrain Azmitia, NYU professor and Co-Chair of the Task Force’s Sustainability Fund committee. “The University community continues to demonstrate a real commitment for achieving sustainability at NYU. The originality and scope of the projects is evident and will help to place NYU among the leaders of the national green campus movement.”

The winning projects encompass a range of sustainability issues, from the food we eat, (Community Garden Project) to the energy we use (GreenLight System), to the waste we produce (Composting Initiative), and the way we get around the campus (BikeShare Pilot Program). They also cover a mixture of strategies - from resource conservation and efficiency to outreach and communication to academic curricula and research.

“This year’s application process was very rigorous, requiring an initial letter, a full proposal, and then a finalist round in order to arrive at this superb set of projects,” said Jeremy Friedman, project administrator, NYU Sustainability Task Force.

Each proposal was also 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.

“Through the previous round of Green Grants, we saw how a little idea with some seed money could emerge into an initiative with the potential to transform the campus,” noted Friedman. “This year, I believe some of our projects will reach past the campus to have a meaningful impact on the broader NYC community and beyond.”

This year’s projects are:

“GRAPES”: Green Roof and Perimeter Enclosure for Security
(Led by Jean Phifer, Adjunct Professor, FAS Fine Arts, and Natalie Jeremijenko, Assistant Professor in Art, Steinhardt)
This multidisciplinary project will draw upon faculty expertise in design, architecture, sociology and psychiatry in order to evaluate solutions to the challenge of public safety for rooftop environmental projects such as renewable energy installations and green roofs. The project will include a set of perimeter barrier designs and analysis, as well as a publication documenting the research and conclusions of the study.

Swap Shop
(Led by Evrim Sahin, Student, Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts)
A complement to this year’s successful Green Apple Move Out project in residence halls, the Swap Shop will give students a year-round way to reuse. This new online platform will enable students to directly exchange used goods - similar to an NYU-exclusive version of “Craigslist”.

NYU Composting Initiative
(Led by Andrew Breck, Frances Felske, and Emily Sun, Students, Wagner School of Public Service and College of Arts and Science)
Synthesis of three student proposals to begin composting NYU’s biodegradable waste stream. Students will partner with NYU Dining and Recycling Departments to roll out a collection and pickup system through NYU’s waste hauler, as well as a set of educational events and outreach to the campus community.

Green Light System
(Led by Natalie Jeremijenko, Assistant Professor in Art, Steinhardt)
The GreenLight is a lighting fixture that uses vegetation to remove indoor air pollutants, coupled with a solar photovoltaic awning that exploits vertical building surfaces, making it ideal for urban campuses. Funding will support the research, design, computer modeling, analysis, production, and installation of the system, which has been developed as a ‘prescription’ for the NYU Environmental Health Clinic. The GreenLight could be applied on a larger campus scale in the future.

NYU Medical Center Sustainability Committee
(Led by Jeffrey Shyu, Student, NYU Medical School)
The student-led NYU Medical Center sustainability group will partner with NYU-MC Facilities staff to launch energy saving and recycling efforts, as well as an informational website to begin community outreach.

Sprucing Up the Green House
(Led by Molly Anderson and Eliza Kenigsberg, Students, College of Arts and Science)
A package of related student projects to support the “Green House,” a new sustainability-themed dorm community in NYU’s residence hall on 7th St. Projects will include a green lending library, speaker series, clothing exchange, and other fun student resources that support environmentally friendly lifestyles.

AQUS Greywater Reuse
(Led by Daniel Simon, Student, Wagner School of Public Service)
AQUS will be the first east coast pilot test of this “greywater” recycling system design, which captures and reuses sink water in order to flush the toilet. Student volunteers will host this system in a campus dorm beginning in September, and detailed evaluation of the system will provide a case study for widespread implementation beyond NYU.

Wagner Water Project
(Led by Andrea Mayer, Associate Research Scientist, Wagner School of Public Service)
Wagner Greening Committee project to upgrade drinking fountains and set up water bottle refilling stations for the Puck building.

Electricity Monitoring Kit
(Led by Jeffrey LeBlanc, Researcher, Interactive Telecommunications Program, TSOA)
NYU thesis project that will be developed as a campus tool for Sustainability Advocates, student groups, and others to track their energy use. The kit allows wireless power monitoring of a suite of individual home or office devices, in real-time over the internet.

Technoscrap Recycling Program
(Led by Emily van Geldern, Student, College of Arts and Science)
Will launch a student- and Recycling Department-led expansion of the “technoscrap” recycling program at Residence Halls, facilitating student recycling of CDs, cell phones, batteries, and more.

Lighten Up & Go Green at Kimmel
(Led by Pamela Bolen, Director of Kimmel Operations)
Supports portions of a study to plan and implement an LED lighting system for the 10th floor of the Kimmel Center, which will serve space lighting needs while substantially reducing energy use.

H204U: Water purification and research
(Led by Max Liboiron, PhD Candidate, Visual Culture, Steinhardt)
A volunteer training program to measure water quality at sources in NYU buildings, and a signage campaign about the quality of NYC tap water, to encourage alternatives to purchasing bottled water.

Painting the Campus Green: Public Art at NYU
(Led by Sarah Burkhart, Student, College of Arts and Science)
Project will sponsor a public competition to develop an environmental art installation near Washington Square Village, with a faculty/expert jury to develop project parameters and evaluate student art proposals.

Radishes and Rubbish
(Led by Annie Myers and Carla Fernandez, Students, Gallatin School of Individualized Study)
Will send groups of NYU students on ‘field trips’ to key NYC-area sites for food production (urban farms, community gardens) and waste disposal (transfer stations and composting facilities). Participating students will be able to apply new knowledge of these systems by collaborating with NYU faculty and staff experts on related campus food and waste management sustainability projects.

NYU Bike Share Pilot Program
(Led by Lindsi Seegmiller, Julia Ehrman and Timothy McNerney, Students, College of Arts and Science and Tisch School of the Arts)
The first bike-sharing program in NYC will start at the Broome St. and 7th St. dorms! Students who receive the required safety training will be able to reserve and “check out” bikes online for use in getting around the city. The Bike Share will build on last year’s bicycle recycling Green Grant by using refurbished campus bikes that have been abandoned, and the project will partner with key neighborhood organizations like Transportation Alternatives.

Putting the Green in Greene St. Phase 2
(Led by David Holland, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Courant Institute)
A continuation of last year’s Green Grant to construct an NYU rooftop weather monitoring station powered with solar and wind energy. Along with a similar installation in Greenland, the station will perform global warming research and yield valuable data.

Green Fieldwork Initiative: Matching Carbon Offsetting
(Led by Will Thomson, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, GSAS)
This pilot program will begin with the measurement and tracking of faculty travel distances and means in the Anthropology Department, in order to better understand the carbon emissions resulting from this travel. A second phase will involve development of a “local carbon offsetting system” to give participating faculty a direct stake in their “green” actions by supporting on-campus carbon reduction projects.

“Step Change” Video Project
(Led by A.J. Jastrzembski, Production Coordinator, Department of Media Production)
Will support the creation of wide ranging video content for NYU Sustainability projects - “how to green” clips, online videos, coverage of campus events, and more!

Outdoor Environmental Leadership Program
(Led by Adam Ebnit, Program Administrator, Student Activities)
Will provide additional support for a new NYU Student Activities Office program that engages students in leadership training through hiking, camping and other experiences in nature.

NYU Community Agriculture Project
(Led by Zoë Abram and Rachel Greenspan, Students, Gallatin School of Individualized Study)
Provides tools and resources for the new student club, Community Agriculture at NYU, which will work in conjunction with East Village neighbors at a local community garden. The project has the long-term goal of developing an on-campus community garden.

Stern Restroom Efficiency Upgrade
(Led by Robin Reinmiller, Student, Stern School of Business)
New high-efficiency hand dryer pilot-testing in restrooms at the Stern School of Business. The Stern Campus Greening Initiative will monitor environmental and cost savings and report on the feasibility of implementing the dryers across the campus.

Green Map Archive Project
(Led by Andy Rutkowski, Reference Associate, Bobst Library)
This project brings together NYU’s Bobst Library and the Green Map ® System, a New York City-based international mapmaking organization that will help introduce the NYU community to a vibrant collection of diverse, locally-authored Green Maps and related tools via workshops, classes, and presentations. This project aims to create a “gateway” for shared knowledge about green places, environmental resources, and sustainable practices that provide the opportunity for practical, local, and replicable responses from students, faculty, and the community to our current global environmental crisis.

Copy Central Document Imaging Service
(Led by Scott Lewis, Manager, Purchasing Department)
Will assist NYU Copy Central in establishing a professional scanning and archiving service, enabling the department to internalize document digitization responsibilities for other areas of the university. Resulting benefits will include cost savings, less physical transportation of documents, and improved utilization of wasted file cabinet space throughout the university.

The establishment of the Sustainability Fund is 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. At that time, the University announced the purchase of 118,000,000 KWh of wind energy, the largest of any university in the U.S. or any institution in New York City.

For more information about the Sustainability Task Force, to learn more about the Green Grants, and for updates on last year’s completed projects, visit

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