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UMD Announces 2016 Sustainability Fund Projects

February 25, 2016

Andrew Muir 301-405-7068

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Office of Sustainability has announced the first round of Sustainability Fund projects approved for 2016.  The Sustainability Fund allocates money for students, faculty and staff to finance projects that will improve sustainability initiatives on campus.  

Projects approved for funding by the Student Advisory Subcommittee and the University Sustainability Council include: 

“The University Sustainability Fund continues to be a critical source of support for many innovative ideas and initiatives that further our campus sustainability efforts,” said Scott Lupin, Director, Office of Sustainability. “This year’s first round of projects will benefit the campus, and particularly students, whose fees form the Fund. The Office of Sustainability congratulates the award winners and is excited to support the approved projects.” 

The Transforming Student Culture through Green Housing grant sets a new precedent for the Sustainability Fund: it is the first time the Fund has administered a grant to create an employee position at the university. 

“The drive to encourage students to live sustainably in UMD housing has been strong for years, but has never taken full, permanent flight,” said Samantha Bingaman, Undergraduate Student representative for the Sustainability Council.  “This position adds a whole new level of cohesiveness to the endeavor, promising to bring truly sustainable student living to fruition.”

The two-year pilot position will develop and manage the Green Rooms and Green Chapters programs, implementing sustainable culture change across the University of Maryland student housing experience. The employee will work jointly between the Office of Sustainability, Department of Resident Life, and Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Applications for the position will be accepted this spring.    

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to bring Maryland’s outstanding culture of sustainability into the residence halls and Greek houses at a very personal, student-centered level, said Deb Grandner, Director, Department of Resident Life. “When fully implemented, I believe that the Green Rooms and Green Chapters programs will serve to educate and inspire our students toward life-long behaviors on behalf of a healthy and sustainable environment.  This grant allows us to provide dedicated resources to advance our goal.”

The Library Sustainability Committee received a grant to create a living green wall at McKeldin Library. The installation of the green wall will enhance the overall air quality and aesthetics in the library, in addition to potentially having a positive effect on energy efficiency.  The wall will be located on the first floor and construction will start in fall 2016.   

“In addition to improving aesthetics and air-quality, the living wall will demonstrate the university's commitment to sustainability,” said Gary White, Associate Dean for Public Services, University of Maryland Libraries.  “It is also meant to symbolize the role of the modern research library in the university in which the library is alive and vibrant.  It is a place where people come together to explore, collaborate and create. The living wall will be a highly visible representation of the 21st century library.”

The Fund also supported two sustainability-focused programs that provide real world experience to students: the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) and the College Park Scholars program.

PALS, which has achieved great success since its original Sustainability Fund grant in 2014, is ready to begin its fourth state of Maryland project in Anne Arundel County.  College Park Scholars is continuing their Scholars Talk Trash series, with a focus on bringing waste education events and speakers to campus.  

The Sustainability Fund was created in April 2007, when 91 percent of undergraduate students voted in favor of increasing student fees to create a University Sustainability Fund. Since 2011, the fund has granted over $1.5 million to 72 sustainability projects.   

For more information about the University Sustainability Fund: sustainabilityfund.umd.edu.