The President’s Sustainability Commission at Colorado State University has announced its FY22 CSU Sustainability Fund, marking the fund’s second year following a successful launch in Fall 2020.
The CSU Sustainability Fund was created to support grassroots sustainability and triple-bottom-line initiatives across the university. For years, CSU’s community of students, faculty and staff have requested funding for sustainability-focused projects and community development.
The President’s Sustainability Commission sponsored the fund to integrate sustainability knowledge and resources across environmental, economic and social barriers. These projects not only expand CSU’s reputation as a green university, but they help foster community participation and education as new ideas and collaborations emerge.
The President’s Sustainability Commission will allocate $25,000 to the Sustainability Fund. The fund is open to all disciplines across the university and interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability are encouraged.
Students, faculty and staff interested in submitting a project proposal can attend a weekly information session on Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. For additional information, interested individuals can contact Anthony Appleton (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Last year, four projects were awarded — diverse in scope and goals, highlighting areas of campus that have been highly visible or hiding in plain sight.
Food insecurity project
Housing & Dining Services’ proposal relaunched the Ram Food Recovery program to target economic and social sustainability, which was exacerbated by barriers of COVID-19 and food insecurity.
“Even though our campus was quiet during the pandemic,” said proposal author Mary Liang, who is associate director of sustainability in Housing & Dining Services. “We knew there were still individuals experiencing food insecurity. This funding provided much-needed assistance to those who did not have access to nutritious food during the semester.”
With the funds awarded, Housing & Dining Services in partnership with Rams Against Hunger provided 1,200 prepackaged meals over the course of the spring semester to the university community.
Green Labs project
Individuals often working or studying in laboratories have faced sustainability concerns in resource-intensive labs.
This led to the ongoing development of the Green Labs Training Modules, a collaboration of sustainability best practices between the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Facilities Management and the Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office.
The modules, crafted by three graduate students hired with the awarded funds, will be focused on sustainability issues ranging from energy use to behaviors. Stacey Baumgarn, campus energy coordinator and author of the proposal, said each module will include material that be “used by CSU Green Labs Ambassadors for presentations or used by instructors and faculty to be incorporated into curriculum, along with infographics, PowerPoint slides and links to additional resources.”
Campus Arboretum project
A Facilities Management project submitted by University Planner Fred Haberecht was funded to develop a self-guided tree walk that highlights more than 10 notable trees on the main campus.
CSU is a designated Campus Arboretum and this project funded interpretive signage. As CSU community members and visitors navigate campus, they can read about the notable trees and learn more about the campus arboretum.
“Fifteen interpretive signs were installed to identify the scientific and common name of notable trees,” said Julia Innes of Facilities Management. “The impact is that the signs realize the potential of the Campus Arboretum as a learning landscape, educating the CSU community on examples of trees that are successful in the Front Range environment that we live in.”
The fourth Sustainability Fund project, also related to trees, is a living project.
Travis Croft, who was a student in the Warner College of Natural Resources, paired up with Seth Webb, the director of the CSU Mountain Campus to author a forest regeneration proposal in response to the Cameron Peak wildfire that devasted the forested area around the Mountain Campus.
The project aimed to create an on-going study of different forest regeneration treatments. Using a lens of stewardship and environmental development, the project has engaged students and faculty to study and observe restoration practices at the CSU Mountain Campus.