Green Grants shine spotlight on sustainability at Union

Publication Date

Environmentally friendly hand dryers in Reamer Campus Center, freshly-squeezed orange juice and renovations to encourage more bicycle commuting are among the projects selected as winners of annual Presidential Green Grants Monday.

“Sustainability is one of the critical issues of our time,” President Stephen C. Ainlay said in honoring this year’s 16 projects. They will share nearly $20,000 in grants, which support environmentally sustainable projects at Union. “These grants are not only symbolic of our commitment to sustainability, but also our commitment to thinking, connecting and acting.”

Now in its third year, the grants are administered by the College’s U Sustain Committee, made up of about 70 environmentally and socially concerned students, faculty and staff who steward the College’s sustainability initiatives.

To date, nearly $48,000 in grants have been awarded, ranging from $200 to $2,000. Past projects honored include a new paper-free bulletin board in Reamer, the launch of Campus Kitchens and an energy audit of Golub House and Fox Hall.

“President Ainlay and the College have made the firm commitment to make Union’s operations more sustainable and to have a positive impact on the environment,” said Jeffrey Corbin, professor of biology and faculty co-chair of U Sustain. “These projects make specific contributions to our own operation and many large-scale environmental issues, and they do so in a way that fulfills Union’s mission to educate the next generation of leaders.”

The 2010-11 Green Grant winners:

Eli Arnow ’11: The design and analysis of an indoor air biofiltration system

Lauren Brown ’11: Cleaning the air: Photocatalytic oxidation of volatile organic compounds with Titania-silica aerogels

Bruce Connolly, librarian: “Why copy that article when you could scan it instead?” – Reducing Union’s carbon footprint one term paper at a time

Jorge Enriquez ’11: “OJ? OK!” – Bringing a sustainable orange juice supply to Union College

Kyle Lanzit ’13: Comparative study of low-flow shower heads in campus residence halls

Jacob LaRocca ’12: Reducing power consumption in the WRUC broadcasting system

Shabana Hoosein ’11: Stickers for U Sustain’s Sustainability Module

Laura MacManus-Spencer, assistant chemistry professor: Showcasing Sustainability at Union College and the community in a dynamic display at the Peter Irving Wold Center

Katherine Manko ’12: Installation of environmentally friendly hand dryers in Reamer Student Center

Victoria McIntyre ’13: Compost and U

Kelly Pearson ’11: Design and production of a dual-axis solar tracking system for use by the Union College Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Murphy Potter ’11: Harnessing the energy of the wind to power the new electric-powered Campus Vehicle Charging Station

John Rieffel, assistant professor of computer science: Fostering bicycle commuting: Locker room renovations in Science and Engineering

Lilla Safford-Smith ’11: The AusPen Implementation Experiment: Making Union College whiteboards more sustainable

Jodi Schwartz ’11: Using digital recognition and imaging to separate plastics thrown in a trashcan

Courtney Seymour, librarian: Efficient irrigation, enhanced harvest: Sustainability improvements for the Octopus’ Garden Organic Gardening Project, Phase II

Last spring, Union was included among the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges, according to The Princeton Review’s first “Guide to Green Colleges.” The free guide, produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, includes schools that have “demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives.”