Interested students, staff and faculty have until May 7 to apply for a grant to fund a project that encourages sustainability on the UC Davis campus.
Approximately $11,500 will be awarded in total – the number of grants will depend on the budgets of the winning projects. Previous awards have ranged from $295 to $4,000.
The grant program is funded by the office of the vice-chancellor of administration, Stan Nosek.
Nosek said the grant program was started because the administration wanted to find a way to recognize and acknowledge student interest in sustainability.
He said the grant program lets applicants suggest a project that would help UC Davis advance as a campus and “improve our ability to create sustainable culture on our campus.”
This is the second year and fourth round of competitions, said Sharon Ruth, communications and marketing manager at the John Muir institute of the environment at UC Davis and member of the Campus Sustainability Advisory committee, in an e-mail interview.
Grant recipient Jason Moore, a mechanical engineering graduate student, led a research team that was awarded $900 in spring 2007 to build a desk that would charge a laptop using only human power.
“You sit at desk and pedal to charge and run your laptop,” he said.
Moore said the team built a prototype of the desk using solely recyclable materials, but the grant helped the team build a final version with more sophisticated electronics and printed graphics.
Ruth said the grant program was created “to open doors and empower all members of the campus community to explore new ways of thinking and approaching the challenges to sustainability that we see around us every day.”
“[The grant program] inspires a dialogue between the campus community and campus administrators to share ideas, contribute knowledge and experience and present innovative ways of thinking about campus sustainability to a wide audience,” Ruth said.
Applicants submit a proposal, including an estimation of their project’s budget, to the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee.
The committee reviews the applications and a grant review committee then evaluates them in detail and votes on the winners, Ruth said.
In fall 2007, the most recent competition, the committee received 17 applications and awarded nine projects, Ruth said.
Derek Downey, a senior biological systems engineering major, was one of the winners.
Downey received a $2,000 grant last fall to create signage for the co-ops located near the Segundo residence halls.
Downey, who has lived in the co-ops for three years, said he wanted to inform the UC Davis community on sustainable living practices at the co-ops, such as solar panels and organic gardens.
“Because I’ve lived here for several years, I’ve come to appreciate all the things I’ve learned from living in this community,” he said, adding that he hopes creating signs will help educate others on what he has learned from the living at the co-ops.
Downey also plans to build signs to label the permanent plants grown in the co-op and a large sign that displays the layout of the co-op’s garden. He expects building to begin shortly.
“We look forward to the applications that are coming this time around and hope to continue to fund this program for a long time to come,” Nosek said.
Applications are available at sustainability.ucdavis.edu/grants/.
ANNA OPALKA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org