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Sustainability Around the U

Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund: Year in Review (2019-20)

Student wearing a Vogmasks

By Emerson Andrews, Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund manager

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund (SCIF) provided more than $100,000 to 19 projects designed by University of Utah community members. The projects covered a range of issues, from concerns about equity and accessibility, to water-use reduction, air-pollution awareness, and more. Project funding is approved by an allocation committee comprised of students, staff, and faculty.

Alt Breaks Zero Waste Spa, $702

Project manager: Sara Matlock  |  Advisor: J Swanger

The Zero Waste Spa, hosted by the Bennion Center, provided students with the raw materials they needed to make their own self care products. A SCIF grant covered the cost of materials.

Campus Stormwater Modeling, $976

Project managers: Aaron Meyer, Ryan Johnson  |  Advisor: Steve Burian

The Campus Stormwater Modeling project connected students from Civil & Environmental Engineering with the Facilities Management stormwater management team in order to create precise models of stormwater on campus, which will aid future planning decisions.

Sustainability in City Building Video Games, $990

Project manager: José Zagal

José Zagal, a professor in the Entertainment Arts & Engineering, received funding to research the representation of sustainability in city building video games.

Future Clinicians for Clean Air, $1,000

Project manager: Liza Kasavana  |  Advisor: Teresa Garrett

The Future Clinicians for Clean Air grant funded an event that focused on the health effects of poor air quality and how it impacts the work of clinicians. The event featured a lecture by Trenton Honda, associate professor and division chief for Physician Assistant Studies, which focused on the systemic effects of air pollution on the human bodies.

Inland Port Info Session, $245

Project manager: Malachai Bateman  |  Advisor: Adrienne Cachelin

The Inland Port Info Session brought Deeda Seeds, senior Utah field campaigner at Center for Biological Diversity, and Jonny Vasic, executive director for Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, to talk about the potential environmental and health impacts of the Inland Port.

Air Quality Art Installation, $980

Project manager: Angelina L. DeMarco  |  Advisor: Meghan Dovick

The Air Quality Art Installation received funding to visualize the public impacts of air pollution through an art display. The project will be included in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ forthcoming Air exhibition.

Xerxes Bee Campus, $1,000

Project manager: Hailey Keller  |  Advisor: Amy Sibul

The Xerxes Bee Campus project used SCIF funding to enroll the University of Utah as a Bee Campus, a status that reflects the history of campus work with bees.

Observation Bee Boxes, $783

Project manager: Zachary Higgins  |  Advisor: Amy Sibul

The Observation Bee Boxes project earned SCIF funding to construct pollinator boxes that allow people to see how native bees nest. These boxes will be installed at the Edible Campus Gardens.

Cover of the Sights & Sightlines journal
Students put together the Sights & Sightlines journal.

Sites & Sightlines, $3,040

Project manager: Michelle Wentling  |  Advisor: Jeff McCarthy

The Sites & Sightlines project used funds to print a journal. Each contributor chose a site on the University of Utah campus; they’re articles focused on a site’s physical characteristics, inhabitants, and history, as well as interviews with people passing through the site. The journal highlighted the issues of environmental justice, deep time, the urban-wild interface, human and animal migration, natural disasters, and land use all focused on the locale of Salt Lake City. Available at the Marriott Library.

Equitable Vogmasks, $9,996

Project manager: Sydney Boogaard  |  Advisor: Jennifer Watt

The Environmental & Sustainability Studies department used SCIF funding to purchase and distribute Vogmasks at a subsidized cost for the Equitable Vogmasks project. The sales of the masks were so successful that the money earned was used to purchase and sell more masks.

Sustainability & Equity Pledge, $2,250

Project manager: Sydney Boogaard  |  Advisor: Jennifer Watt

For the Sustainability & Equity Pledge, students from the Environmental & Sustainability Studies department purchased green cords for the commencement ceremony that would reflect the students’ pledge to live a sustainable life. The idea is that the visual display of students’ commitment to sustainability will help spread a culture of sustainability across campus.

UKids Accessibility, $10,000

Project manager: Divya Chandrasekhar

Divya Chandrasekhar, assistant professor in City & Metropolitan Planning, used funds to run a safety and accessibility assessment for the area that surrounds the U Kids facility on Guardsman Way. When dropping off her own child, Chandrasekhar noticed she could not access the facility through any means of transportation other than a car. The goal is that the assessment can highlight potential solutions for the accessibility and safety issues.

Waterless Urinals, $2,941

Project managers: John Haraden, Ethan Black  |  Advisor: Bonita Austin

Students from the David Eccles School of Business used SCIF funds to purchase and install waterless urinals at the Marriott Library.

Solar Umbrellas Expansion, $5,645

Project managers: Cami Kenworthy, Ben ReMillard, Michelle Behrmann  |  Advisor: Jennifer Watt

Students from the Environmental & Sustainability Studies department received SCIF money to purchase another Enerfusion table umbrella with solar panels for use at Gardner Commons. The umbrellas allow the campus community to charge small electronics using the energy captured by the umbrellas’ solar panels.

Campus Community Food Project, $4,100

Project manager: Adrienne Cachelin

The Campus Community Food Project researched Glendale residents’ perceptions regarding an urban farm and their visions for how the farm might support food access. The project will move beyond the initial community inquiry, bringing the work full circle by reconnecting the findings with University of Utah campus programs, including the Edible Campus Gardens and University Neighborhood Partners. The project’s emphasis on community partnership positions the University of Utah as a conduit through which allied local government agencies and nonprofits can work together with diverse communities and support expressed needs.

Project Embrace, $5,645

Project manager: Gabrielle Hoyer  |  Advisor: Dean McGovern

Biomedical Engineering students secured funds to support Project Embrace at the University of Utah. Project Embrace is a student-founded and student-led start-up nonprofit that collects gently used mobility assistance devices to be sanitized, refurbished, and redistributed to marginalized and low-income populations. The funds purchased the supplies necessary to refurbish the equipment and market the program.

Medical School Community Garden, $2,070

Project manager: Alyssa Thorman  |  Advisor: Shannon Jones

The Medical School Community Garden, an ASUU-registered student interest group, received funding to build a community garden on the Health Sciences campus. The garden will cater to all students that are a part of the Health Sciences community in an attempt to combat food insecurity, provide a green space, and contribute to sustainability initiatives taking place on campus.

Fort Douglas Light Pollution Reduction, $20,000

Project managers: Kari Stoddard, Daniel Anderson  |  Advisors: Nate Bricker

SCIF awarded students from the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Recreation funding to partner with the Sustainability & Energy Management Department in Facilities Management to identify and replace outdoor lighting in the Sage Point area of Fort Douglas. The selected fixtures are dark-sky compliant to reduce light pollution.

Bird-Strike Mitigation Continuation, $28,496

Project manager: Barbara Brown

Barbara Brown, professor in Family & Consumer Studies, received funds to complete work on the installation of anti-bird-strike films on windows in buildings on Presidents Circle to prevent the death of Cedar Wax Wings. In addition to the installation, Brown also published research regarding the factors for predicting bird-strike frequency and identifying hotspots on campus.