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Northwestern Sustainability Fund grants nearly $10,000 to student sustainability initiatives

Northwestern Sustainability FundIn its first round of grant funding, the Northwestern Sustainability Fund (NSF) has allocated nearly $10,000 to six student projects involving energy and sustainability. The $50,000 fund was established in the spring of 2013 as a collaborative effort between the Associated Student Government (ASG), the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee, and the Office of Sustainability. Colleges and Universities across the country have used similar student-led funding models to provide support to projects ranging from energy technology demonstrations to environmental programming and events. The next round of grant applications are due November 11.

Learn more about the recently funded projects:

Solar Tree
Developed by Engineers for a Sustainable World’s (ESW) Clean Energy Project, “Solar Tree” aims to strengthen NU’s sense of community and raise awareness of alternative energy technologies. Solar Tree is a tree-shaped, solar-powered charging station for laptops and cell phones. It features a built-in table and benches, creating a new gathering spot for students. With both its aesthetics and function, it will create a visible testament to a campus-wide dedication to sustainability.

Living Green Event: hosted by the Off-Campus Eco-Reps
The Living Green event on November 14 from 6:00 pm -8:00 pm in Parkes Hall room 122, will inform students how to live sustainably off-campus. Students will hear from Evanston experts on how to conserve energy, reduce waste, save water, travel sustainably, eat locally, and save money while living in an apartment or house. A Kindle, solar powered phone charger, gift cards, and other prizes will be raffled off at this event.

Lonely Switch
Lonely Switch is a new automating lighting technology, designed to reduce energy waste in classrooms around campus. The technology can be installed on any traditional light switch and uses sound to automatically turn off lights when rooms are not in use. The team intends to pilot the system across campus.

NetG Speaker Event
The Northwestern Energy Technology Group (NetG) will bring a Fortune 500 speaker to discuss corporate sustainability auditing and reporting. Corporate Social Responsibility teams are increasingly concerned with their environmental impacts. This event will bring together an interdisciplinary group of students to learn and discuss issues of corporate responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Pura Playa
Pura Playa has been working to reduce plastic waste on campus through a combination of education and awareness. In addition to holding “tap water samplings” across campus, the team has successfully worked with administration to install reusable water bottle refilling stations in the Norris University Center. NSF’s grant will allow Pura Playa to continue their “Think Outside the Bottle” campaign, which includes hosting educational events, film screenings, and tap water challenges.

Green Cup
NSF is also allocating funds to support increased programming for NU’s Green Cup competition, an annual event organized by Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED) aiming to reduce energy and water usage among Northwestern students. This year’s Green Cup competition began October 21 and extends through November 17.