–by Whitney Williams, SCIF Coordinator, UofU Office of Sustainability
In 2009, U students developed the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, a competitive grant program for student projects focused on sustainability education and energy efficiency at the University of Utah. Each semester, students have the opportunity to receive funding to turn their “green” idea into a reality on campus. The first round of funding launched 15 successful projects including two innovative rain gardens, an organic cotton t-shirt business, and a pilot study of a 100% recyclable light bulb.
Another project launching this fall is the “Green Tee” initiative. After learning about the science behind climate change in one of his classes, Nate Nelson decided he wanted to raise funds for sustainability research. So he is starting the “Green Tee” business and will be selling 100% environmentally responsible t-shirts on campus and throughout the Salt Lake valley to help spread the message of sustainability. All proceeds will return to SCIF to allow for more student research projects in the future.
The idea behind the Union Lighting Project came about when Julie Henry was lying in her dorm-room bed and noticed the ancient lamp posts outside her window and thought about how much energy was being wasted with the old lights. Julie, a sophomore studying architecture, is now working on a pilot study of a 100% recyclable light bulb that is expected to last for 23 years. If the pilot study shows positive results, it could pave the way for more efficient outdoor lighting across campus. Julie, Nate, Dasch and Thomas are just a few of the many students involved with sustainability projects this year. More SCIF projects are underway and will be highlighted throughout the semester. If you would like to get involved with these green efforts, please visit the website at http://www.facilities.utah.edu and click on “sustainability”.