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Sustainability Projects

The Student Environmental Initiatives Committee has created a dedicated fund for FY 16 and FY 17 within the Green Fee to provide students an opportunity to research, design, and monitor sustainability related projects. This fund will be dedicated to student design/research projects across all academic departments. This fund serves to provide a campus wide funding opportunity that is directed toward student-led projects and experiential learning. To apply, submit a project proposal with faculty endorsement to the SEIC (following the SEIC proposal guidelines). Projects should be completed within one semester (two semester projects need approval from faculty advisor). Proposals should be submitted by the end of the first month of the proposed semester (in order to ensure timely funding). A sample sustainability project proposal is available here. For more information, contact the Office of Sustainability at sustainability@utk.edu.

The Student Environmental Initiatives Committee has once again approved funding to send students to sustainability related conferences and workshops. This program was created in order for students to learn what other campuses and organizations across the country are doing to increase environmental awareness and sustainability in their community. Not only does this program give students the opportunity to learn new skill sets and potential ideas to enhance UT’s ongoing sustainability initiatives, but it also provides a unique professional development experience. Funding is not limited to sustainability majors; any student may apply. Please submit applications at least six weeks prior to the conference date for review and purchase orders. Apply for the Student Environmental Initiatives Committee today.

Since 2005-06, a significant portion of the Student Environmental Initiatives fee has been used to stimulate demand for renewable energy in the Tennessee Valley and southeastern United States. The university currently purchases 250,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per month of Green-e certified renewable energy credits (RECs) through the TVA Green Power Switch program. The purchase makes UT an EPA Green Power Partner and one of the largest purchasers of green power in the Southeast.

With labor donated by the Facilities Services Department, this four-year, $384,000 project supported the installation of new lighting fixtures and controls that use about one-third less electricity and eliminate the need for excessive lighting in the Stokely Management Center (SMC). In addition, the project added daylight harvesting technology to the building so that the lighting dims as sunlight enters a space. These improvements have saved $56,000 a year based on 2003 electric rates.

The Student Environmental Initiatives fee has paid membership dues for UT to join the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE hosts a wide range of activities and maintains an excellent resource center on sustainability efforts in higher education. Anyone with a valid @utk.edu or @tennessee.edu email address can access AASHE resources for free. For more information, visit the AASHE account webpage.

With $1,000 in support from the Student Environmental Initiatives fee, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch at the University of Tennessee competed in the 2009 IEEE SoutheastCon Robotics Competition. The competition, which was held in Atlanta, featured a recycling theme where student teams built a robot to pick up aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and other recyclable materials. The robots then placed each material into a corresponding bag without any human guidance.

The Student Environmental Initiatives fee has funded a number of graduate assistant student positions. Sara Malley served as a graduate assistant from 2009 to 2011. As a GA, Sara helped launch the Eco-Vols program and assisted with various projects to promote environmental stewardship on campus and in the community. Katie Kimsey (Bennett) served as a graduate assistant from 2009 to 2011.

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